Malaysia's March Industrial Production Expected to Rise 4.3% On-Year

By Yantoultra Ngui Features Dow Jones Newswires

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Malaysia's March industrial output growth likely slowed, although it is expected to remain solid thanks to strong exports.

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The industrial production index, which measures output from mines, factories and power plants, likely rose 4.3% in March compared with a year ago, according to the median forecast from a poll of seven economists by The Wall Street Journal. It climbed 4.7% in February.

"The production of export-oriented industries as well as commodities would help to maintain the pace of industrial production index growth," Dr. Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid, chief economist at Kuala Lumpur-based Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd., told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

"The implementation of infrastructure projects would also support the production activities among the domestic-oriented industries such as building materials and machinery equipment," he added.

Malaysia's exports in March grew 24.1% compared with a year ago, beating expectations on the back of improvements in all major export sectors.

The faster-than-expected export growth adds to encouraging signs of economic expansion in Southeast Asia's third-largest economy.

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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Monday that the economy is expected to expand faster this year, by between 4.3% and 4.8%, supported by healthy domestic demand and robust private sector investment. Malaysia's GDP grew 4.2% last year.

Malaysia will announce its official industrial-production data at 0400 GMT on Thursday.

-- Write to Yantoultra Ngui at yantoultra.ngui@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 08, 2017 23:13 ET (03:13 GMT)