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Malaysia Economy
 
 
 

Economy - overview:
Malaysia, a middle-income country, transformed itself from 1971 through the late 1990's from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy. Growth was almost exclusively driven by exports - particularly of electronics. As a result, Malaysia was hard hit by the global economic downturn and the slump in the information technology (IT) sector in 2001 and 2002. GDP in 2001 grew only 0.5% due to an estimated 11% contraction in exports, but a substantial fiscal stimulus package equal to US $1.9 billion mitigated the worst of the recession and the economy rebounded in 2002 with a 4.1% increase. The economy grew 4.9% in 2003, notwithstanding a difficult first half, when external pressures from SARS and the Iraq War led to caution in the business community. Growth topped 7% in 2004. Healthy foreign exchange reserves, low inflation, and a small external debt are all strengths that make it unlikely that Malaysia will experience a financial crisis similar to the one in 1997. The economy remains dependent on continued growth in the US, China, and Japan, top export destinations and key sources of foreign investment.

GDP:
purchasing power parity - $229.3 billion (2004 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
7.1% (2004 est.)

GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $9,700 (2004 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 7.2%
industry: 33.6%
services: 59.1% (2004 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
21.7% of GDP (2004 est.)

Population below poverty line:
8% (1998 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.4%
highest 10%: 39.2% (2003 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
49.2 (1997)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.3% (2004 est.)


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