Bernama – Malaysian economy expected to improve in near future –

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 (Bernama) — Malaysia’s economy is expected to improve in the near term, supported by robust domestic demand and stable labour market conditions, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM).

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohamed Uzir Mahidin said the leading index (LI) increased by 0.3% year-on-year to 110.1 points in December 2023 from 109.8 points in December 2022.

“This remarkable recovery was driven primarily by a significant 41.5% increase in the number of residential units, marking the first positive growth after nine consecutive months of declines,” he said in a statement today.

He said Malaysia’s economy would grow by 3.0% in the fourth quarter of 2023, slightly slower than the 3.3% growth in the third quarter of 2023.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, the industrial production index (IPI) increased by 1.0% year-on-year, even as manufacturing sales fell 2.7% year-on-year to RM461.5 billion.

Meanwhile, services division revenue recorded a 6.6% year-on-year increase to reach RM591.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023, he noted.

He said the service volume index also rose 4.1 percent to 148.5 points.

Given the performance of the external sector, Mohamed Uzir said Malaysia’s exports in the fourth quarter of FY23 fell 6.9% to RM366.3 billion, while imports increased 1.3% to RM329.3 billion.

Looking at labor market trends, the number of employed persons increased by 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023 to a record 16.35 million, while the unemployment rate stood at 3.3 percent, he said.

“Malaysia’s labour environment is improving, with the unemployment rate falling 0.3 percentage points to 3.3% in the fourth quarter of 2023 from 3.6% in the same period last year.

“The reduction was driven by sustained employment growth, up 2.5 percent year-on-year, with the labor force growing 2.2 percent year-on-year to 16.91 million, maintaining a solid labor force participation rate of 70.1 percent,” he added.

On the price front, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) eased to 1.6% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2023, while the Producer Price Index (PPI) was down -1.0%.

— Bernama

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