,The World Bank noted that Malaysia, on the verge of becoming a high-income country, had successfully transitioned away from commodity dependence into the manufacturing sector.
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KUALA LUMPUR: The World Bank is projecting the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 6% this year, lower than its earlier forecast of 6.7%.
In its Economic Update for East Asia and the Pacific – Uneven Recovery released yesterday, the bank said the growth is expected to be supported by the gradual strengthening in domestic demand following the vaccine deployment beginning from March 2021 and a cautious improvements in external demand.
However, it added that the strength and timing of Malaysia’s economic recovery would depend largely on the timely availability of an effective mass vaccination programme, noting that the programme is expected to cover at least 30% of the population by August 2021.
The World Bank said the output of the economy in the medium term would unlikely return to the pre-pandemic levels, adding that the upside risks include a successful mitigation of the third wave of Covid-19 infections and an effective roll-out and implementation of vaccination programmes.
The Bank said this could lead to a faster than expected recovery in domestic demand and greater investor confidence.
On the external front, it said further delays in the implementation of vaccination programmes could lead to recurrent lockdowns in advanced economies and dampen global growth.
Domestic political uncertainty also poses near-term challenges to the economy, it said, noting that the country’s state of emergency that has been in place since Jan 14 is likely to dampen investors’ confidence.
On the issue of poverty, the World bank said the number of Malaysians living below the national poverty line is projected to decrease gradually and remain at pre-pandemic levels until 2022.
The projection, it said is predicated on the assumption that recovery in household employment and incomes is likely to be uneven, with tourism and other high-contact service occupations expected to be among the slowest to improve.
It is also contingent upon a substantial rebound in employment and continued government relief measures to protect poor and vulnerable households, pending the full recovery of the economy.
The World Bank noted that Malaysia, on the verge of becoming a high-income country, had successfully transitioned away from commodity dependence into the manufacturing sector.