Expect a recession in 4 to 6 months, says chief statistician

Malaysia has suffered a loss of RM22.8 billion (US$5.3 billion) in economic output because of the countrywide lockdown, according to an official report.

SINGAPORE: The Malaysian economy is about to feel the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the country’s top statistician.

After posting its slowest growth since the global financial crisis, the economy is set to slip into a recession in the next four to six months, according to a report by Mohd Uzir Mahidin, the chief statistician.

With its borders shut to foreigners and a standstill in commerce around the world, industries including tourism and aviation have been crippled, adding uncertainty to a rebound in trade in the first quarter.

The expected decline comes as the country’s gross domestic product grew marginally at 0.7% in the first three months of the year, the lowest since the third quarter of 2009, he said.

That growth rate is significantly less than the 3.9% to 4.2% expansion expected, with losses of RM22.8 billion (US$5.3 billion) in economic output because of a countrywide lockdown, he said.

Countries across the world began the “Great Lockdown” in March.

“From the early indications in April and May 2020, the economic environment is foreseen to be unfavourable for Malaysian businesses,” according to the report, entitled the Malaysian Economic Statistics Review.

With the global lockdown, “this unprecedented situation has caused a sharp contraction to the economy like never before.”

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