KUALA LUMPUR: Approved foreign direct investments (FDIs) into Malaysia for the first quarter of 2019 (Q1 2019) soared 73.4 per cent to RM29.3 billion from RM16.9 billion recorded during the same period a year ago.

In a statement Thursday, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said Malaysia is benefiting from the tax and investment diversions due to the trade war between the United States (US) and China.

It said the rise in overall approved FDIs in Q1 2019 was driven by a surge in investments in the manufacturing sector, which rose 127 per cent to RM20.2 billion, compared with RM8.9 billion a year ago.

“Out of the RM20.2 billion of approved FDIs in the sector, RM11.5 billion were from the US, RM4.4 billion from China and RM2.2 billion from Singapore,” it said.

MoF said the FDIs were expected to create more than 41,200 jobs for Malaysians, of which 22,970 would be in the manufacturing sector and 18,000 in the services sector.

Meanwhile, it said industrial production growth in April 2019 increased by 4.0 per cent year-on-year from 3.1 per cent in March, supported by robust manufacturing growth and mining output recovery.

“The expansion in April is the strongest in six months and it is above the market consensus, which was 2.5 per cent according to Bloomberg,” it said.

MoF said the expansion occurred during a period of low and stable inflation, which was at 0.2 per cent.

“Prices of some basic consumer items have fallen due to multiple factors, including the shift in the taxation regime from the burdensome Goods and Services Tax to the Sales and Service Tax and the imposition of price ceilings on RON95 and diesel,” it added. – Bernama