RAM Ratings keeps 2021 M’sian GDP forecast at 3.8%

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RAM Rating Services Bhd (RAM Ratings) has maintained its 2021 forecast for Malaysia’s gross domestic product at 3.8%.

In its latest Economic Update 2021 report, the credit ratings agency said the country’s ramped-up Covid-19 vaccination rate is expected to facilitate the reopening of most economic sectors in the fourth quarter, providing a healthy lift to growth.

“For 2022, we have pencilled in a growth forecast of between 7.0% and 8.0%.

“Although this is primarily aided by low base effects, the reopening of most sectors of the economy and gradual utilisation of domestic spare capacity should boost underlying growth,” it said in a statement today.

It noted that the continued recovery in global demand, particularly excess demand for semiconductors, will buoy Malaysia’s performance next year.

RAM Ratings said the overall output for 2022 is expected to recover above the level seen in 2019, estimated to be 4.8% to 5.8% higher.

“However, economic conditions are unlikely to fully normalise until after 2022, as the severity of the impact on the economy has resulted in a negative output gap in the short term.

“We estimate that the economy, in aggregate, will operate 5.0% below its potential output in 2022.”

This translates into RM75 billion to RM85 billion less in output than could have been achieved without the fallout from the pandemic, it said.

It added that the pace of vaccination remains a key driver of domestic recovery, as well as continued global recovery.

“Exports are still the bright spot in the Malaysian economy, for which we project a strong rebound (2021: 11.1%; 2022: 4.6%) amid the semiconductor super-cycle.” – Bernama, August 28, 2021

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