I was optimistic that the 4Q13 GDP figures would be strong. I was betting on export recovery while mindful that other components, mostly consumption growth, might slow down.

Indeed export growth recovered. But trade surplus was not as strong I thought it would. Still, the prospect of Malaysia experiencing a trade deficit is unlikely. The trade surplus was strong enough for me to say, hey, there would be no twin deficits for Malaysia, no siree.

So, I missed by full-year growth by about 18 basis points. I projected 4.9% growth (well, more like 4.86%) for 2013 but actual growth came at 4.7% (4.68% really).

While the 5.1% YoY for the quarter was still good, especially given the first two quarters had about 3% YoY only, this is one of those quarters which I find growth confusing.

I looked at the numbers and I saw consumption growth slowed, gross fixed capital formation growth slowed, government spending growth slowed and trade balance growth slowed too. I think the exports growth is the only real good news around, but clearly it was not strong enough to make overall growth accelerate.

Now, with every one of those major components had their quarterly YoY growth slowed, what could possible make the overall GDP numbers grew faster?

Inventories had a role in it.

You could see the contribution of all the GDP components to the 5.1% growth below. For the investment contribution, it is the fixed capital formation, which includes inventories:

20140213 4Q13 GDP contribution to growth

I am not so sure how I feel about that.

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