KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by some 6.2 percent in 2022, riding on the success of its national vaccination program, according to an economist with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB).
Edward Lee, the bank's chief economist for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and South Asia, said on Tuesday that additional factors include sustained external demand and a pick-up in domestic demand.
Malaysia, which had suffered serious disruptions due to COVID-19, would see this as an extremely favorable base effect, hence the growth projection for 2022 is 6.2 percent, Lee said.
He also noted that the country's successful vaccination program, with over 78 percent of its population having been vaccinated, would facilitate a sustainable and confident economic reopening.
On external demand, Lee said that Malaysia stands among the economies that have remained robust from the supply side disruption, which will serve as another growth driver in 2022.
"FDI (foreign direct investment) interest is really very strong, as you can see from the numbers particularly in the electrical & electronics sector," he said.
Despite the positive outlook, the economist cautioned that the emergence of new COVID-19 variants could put international tourism at risk, as well as potentially affect economic activities again.
"Our key assumption is a smoother year in terms of COVID-19 situation. Quite clearly if there's a very disruptive variant, the message is clear, it still poses the largest downside risk to everyone's growth outlook," he said.