July 16, 2020 / 11:21 AM / 24 days ago

Malaysia's approved first-quarter investments down 31% on year, at $8.8 billion

FILE PHOTO: A view of the city skyline in Kuala Lumpur amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia July 2, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia approved investment of 37.4 billion ringgit ($8.8 billion) in the period from January to March, down 30.6% from a year earlier as investors reshape strategies and postpone decisions due to the coronavirus, it said on Thursday.

Foreign investment accounted for almost 30% of the total investment in manufacturing, services and primary sectors, led by Switzerland and then neighbouring Singapore, the United States, China and Japan.

Manufacturing was the biggest contributor, at 67.5% of the total, with the domestic portion jumping 180.8% from a year earlier to 14.6 billion ringgit.

“The coronavirus and its bearing have caused investors to reconsider their business strategies and postpone investment decisions,” Azmin Ali, the minister of international trade and industry said in a statement.

“We may not be able to reach the pre-COVID-19 crisis level of investments this year,” he added.

“However, we will not stop being aggressive in our promotional efforts to retain and attract more foreign and domestic investments to revive the economy.”

Malaysia approved investment of 53.9 billion ringgit in the first quarter of last year.

Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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