KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz predicted that this year's fourth quarter will be "the challenge" for Malaysia's economic growth, citing ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and China's zero-tolerance policy on Covid-19.

Speaking on American broadcasters CNBC's Squawk Box Asia, he reportedly said this is because China is Malaysia’s largest trading partner and disruptions to supply chains and trade will "dampen some of the growth expectations in the fourth quarter of this year for Malaysia."

"I’m still very optimistic that we will get to the forecast GDP number of between 5.3 and 6.3 per cent... Probably at the top end of that 6.3 per cent,” he said, referring to the gross domestic product.

"Domestic consumption has gone strong, much stronger than we expected,” he added.

Tengku Zafrul added that while the impetus of growth for July to September should be strong, this, he said, could be the result of a negative base effect from the same period in the previous year.

Malaysia's nominal GDP rose by 8.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the previous quarter, with the real GDP closer to 3.5 per cent.