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Malaysia Economy

    Economy—overview: After a decade of 8% average GDP growth, the Malaysian economy—severely hit by the regional financial crisis—declined 7% in 1998. Malaysia will likely remain in recession for the first half of 1999; official statistics continue to show anemic exports, and some private financial analysts forecast a further drop in GDP of 1% in 1999. Prime Minister MAHATHIR has imposed capital controls to protect the local currency while cutting interest rates to stimulate the economy. Kuala Lumpur also announced an expansionary budget for 1999 to combat rising unemployment. Malaysia continues to seek funding from domestic and international sources to help finance its budget deficit and recapitalize its weakened banking sector.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$215.4 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: -7% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$10,300 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 13%
    industry: 46%
    services: 41% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: 15.5% (1989 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 1.9%
    highest 10%: 37.9% (1989)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.3% (1998)

    Labor force: 8.398 million (1996 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: manufacturing 25%, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries 21%, local trade and tourism 17%, services 12%, government 11%, construction 8% (1996)

    Unemployment rate: 2.6% (1996 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $22.6 billion
    expenditures: $22 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.3 billion (1996 est.)

    Industries: Peninsular Malaysia—rubber and oil palm processing and manufacturing, light manufacturing industry, electronics, tin mining and smelting, logging and processing timber; Sabah—logging, petroleum production; Sarawak—agriculture processing, petroleum production and refining, logging

    Industrial production growth rate: 14.4% (1995)

    Electricity—production: 48 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 83.33%
    hydro: 16.67%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 47.977 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 174 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 151 million kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: Peninsular Malaysia—rubber, palm oil, rice; Sabah—subsistence crops, rubber, timber, coconuts, rice; Sarawak—rubber, pepper; timber

    Exports: $74.3 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Exports—commodities: electronic equipment, petroleum and petroleum products, palm oil, wood and wood products, rubber, textiles

    Exports—partners: US 21%, Singapore 20%, Japan 12%, Hong Kong 5%, UK 4%, Thailand 4%, Germany 3% (1995)

    Imports: $59.3 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Imports—commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, food

    Imports—partners: Japan 27%, US 16%, Singapore 12%, Taiwan 5%, Germany 4%, South Korea 4% (1995)

    Debt—external: $39.8 billion (1998)

    Economic aid—recipient: $125 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 ringgit (M$) = 100 sen

    Exchange rates: ringgits (M$) per US$1—3.8000 (January 1999), 3.9244 (1998), 2.8133 (1997), 2.5159 (1996), 2.5044 (1995), 2.6243 (1994)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)