Malaysia experienced new development plans in 2006, which also helped the helped the Malaysian exchange traded fund [ETF]. The country relaunched the Ninth Malaysia Plan, which is a five-year plan that is designed to move Malaysia's economy up the value chain. Increased spending on education, manufacturing and value-added industries, along with agriculture and technology are part of the plan, states Oxford Business Group.
Malaysia also plans to develop certain areas into economic hubs comparable to Hong Kong or Shenzhen. Industrial production soared in November, due to an 8% contraction in October. The low numbers in October were a result of fewer working days due to the high number of Muslim holidays, reports Stephanie Phang and Patricia Chua for Bloomberg.com.
Additionally, the U.S. is seeing "real interest" in a trade agreement with Malaysia, after going into the fourth round of negotiations. The press release states deals will need to be forged by April. Look into ETF iShares MSCI Malaysia (NYSEARCA:EWM), up 2% this year, and up 34% in 2006.