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Back to Malaysia 

 

Malaysia's Economy 


petronas_twin_towers.jpg (13495 bytes)Malaysia has progressed into a nation that has diversified successfully to rise as a top exporter of manufactured goods.  Other items exported are palm oil and rubber, in which Malaysia is among the top producers, as well as crude petroleum and liquefied natural gas.  Malaysia is considered a major producer of cocoa and pepper, with significant exports of timber and wood products.

Malaysia is the largest producer of palm oil in the world.  In 1996, 7.3 million tons of palm oil products were exported, with the major markets being China, Pakistan and Singapore.  The third largest in natural rubber production, Malaysia exported 17.1 percent of the world's production in 1996, with the major markets being the EC, Republic of Korea, USA, Japan, Singapore, China and Russia.  

Timber is the second largest foreign exchange earner, with petroleum being the first.  The major importers of sawn lumber and saw logs were Japan, Taiwan, and the Republic of Korea, with the EC, Thailand, Singapore, Japan and the Republic of Korea importing sawn timber imports.  

In recent years, the manufacturing sector has become more important, thus improving, with the help of tourism, the nation's economy. 


Malaysia, a middle-income country, has transformed itself since the 1970s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy. Under current Prime Minister NAJIB, Malaysia is attempting to achieve high-income status by 2020 and to move farther up the value-added production chain by attracting investments in Islamic finance, high technology industries, medical technology, and pharmaceuticals. The NAJIB administration also is continuing efforts to boost domestic demand and to wean the economy off of its dependence on exports. Nevertheless, exports - particularly of electronics - remain a significant driver of the economy. As an oil and gas exporter, Malaysia has profited from higher world energy prices, although the rising cost of domestic gasoline and diesel fuel, combined with strained government finances, has forced Kuala Lumpur to reduce government subsidies. The government is also trying to lessen its dependence on state oil producer Petronas, which supplies at least 40% of government revenue. The central bank maintains healthy foreign exchange reserves and its well-developed regulatory regime has limited Malaysia's exposure to riskier financial instruments and the global financial crisis. Nevertheless, decreasing worldwide demand for consumer goods hurt Malaysia's exports and economic growth in 2009, although both showed signs of recovery in 2010. In order to attract increased investment, NAJIB has also sought to revise the special economic and social preferences accorded to ethnic Malays under the New Economic Policy of 1970, but he has encountered significant opposition, especially from Malay nationalists.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$416.4 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
$388.8 billion (2009 est.)
$395.5 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$219 billion (2010 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7.1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
-1.7% (2009 est.)
4.7% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$14,700 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
$14,000 (2009 est.)
$14,500 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 9.1%
industry: 41.6%
services: 49.3% (2010 est.)
Labor force:
11.62 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 13%
industry: 36%
services: 51% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:
3.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
3.7% (2009 est.)
Population below poverty line:
5.1% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 28.5% (2005 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
46.1 (2002)
country comparison to the world: 36
49.2 (1997)
Investment (gross fixed):
20.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
Public debt:
52.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
53.3% of GDP (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
0.6% (2009 est.)
note: approximately 30% of goods are price-controlled
Central bank discount rate:
1% (31 December 2009)
NA% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
5.08% (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
6.08% (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$69.03 billion (31 December 2010 est)
country comparison to the world: 38
$57 billion (31 December 2009 est)
Stock of broad money:
$337.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
$280.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
$314.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
$265.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$256 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 25
$187.1 billion (31 December 2008)
$325.7 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
Peninsular Malaysia - rubber, palm oil, cocoa, rice; Sabah - subsistence crops, coconuts, rice; rubber, timber; Sarawak - rubber, timber; pepper
Industries:
Peninsular Malaysia - rubber and oil palm processing and manufacturing, light manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, medical technology, electronics, tin mining and smelting, logging, timber processing; Sabah - logging, petroleum production; Sarawak - agriculture processing, petroleum production and refining, logging
Industrial production growth rate:
8.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
Electricity - production:
103.2 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
Electricity - consumption:
99.25 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
Electricity - exports:
2.268 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production:
693,700 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
Oil - consumption:
536,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
Oil - exports:
511,900 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
Oil - imports:
314,600 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
Oil - proved reserves:
2.9 billion bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
Natural gas - production:
57.3 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
Natural gas - consumption:
26.27 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
Natural gas - exports:
31.03 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
Natural gas - proved reserves:
2.35 trillion cu m (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Current account balance:
$34.83 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
$34.08 billion (2009 est.)
Exports:
$192.8 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
$157.5 billion (2009 est.)
Exports - commodities:
electronic equipment, petroleum and liquefied natural gas, wood and wood products, palm oil, rubber, textiles, chemicals
Exports - partners:
Singapore 13.9%, China 12.2%, US 10.9%, Japan 9.8%, Thailand 5.4%, Hong Kong 5.2% (2009)
Imports:
$149.2 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
$117.3 billion (2009 est.)
Imports - commodities:
electronics, machinery, petroleum products, plastics, vehicles, iron and steel products, chemicals
Imports - partners:
China 13.9%, Japan 12.5%, US 11.2%, Singapore 11.1%, Thailand 6%, Indonesia 5.3% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$104.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
$96.71 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Debt - external:
$62.82 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
$58.79 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$77.44 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
$74.64 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$82.65 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
$75.62 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Exchange rates:
ringgits (MYR) per US dollar - 3.2182 (2010), 3.5246 (2009), 3.33 (2008), 3.46 (2007), 3.6683 (2006)

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