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Malaysia's GDP growth slumps to 0.7% as relaxed lockdown drags on

Coronavirus and oil price plunge raise specter of recession in 2020

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia's economy grew 0.7% in the initial quarter of 2020, well off the 4.5% pace recorded a year earlier, as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic begins to show up in the numbers.

The result, announced on Wednesday, did beat the median forecast of a 1.5% contraction in a Reuters poll of 12 economists. "After a steady expansion in the first two months of the quarter, economic activity came to a sharp downshift with the implementation" of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, or movement control order, in mid-March, the central bank said in a statement.

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