Malaysia's economy grew at its slowest pace in two years in the July-September quarter as the country grappled with weak external demand and what the central bank called "supply shocks" for liquefied natural gas and palm oil.
The fourth straight quarter of slowing growth presents a challenge for the administration of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who in May ended six-decade-long single party rule in Southeast Asia's third-largest economy.
The central bank forecast a slight recovery in economic growth for next year, but some private economists said a rebound was unlikely, citing a combination of slowing external growth and domestic demand.
Annual growth in July-September was 4.4 percent, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said.
That was below the forecast of 4.6 percent in a Reuters poll and April-June's pace of 4.5 percent
"Growth has bottomed and on upside going forward," BNM Governor Nur Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said.
Global trade tensions could drag the country's growth down by 0.3-0.5 percent next year if it gets worse, she said.
She forecast the economy to expand 4.9 percent next year, following 4.8 percent for full-year 2018.
Capital Economics said the third quarter numbers show growth was "still struggling for momentum" and that a sustained rebound was unlikely.
It expects growth of 4.5 percent next year. Euben Paracuelles of Nomura, citing a combination of slowing global economy, lower exports and private consumption, said Malaysia's growth rate "is likely to get worse. It will be a more broad based slowdown next year."