Sunday 25 Feb 2024
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PUTRAJAYA (Jan 31): Malaysia can withstand global economic challenges, evidenced by its improved labour market and continuous external demand, coupled with other positive key indicators, said the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM). 

The DOSM in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 31) cited chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin as saying: “Summarising the year 2022, Malaysia’s trade exceeded the RM2 trillion mark for the second year in a row, and surged 27.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM2.8 trillion."

Mohd Uzir noted Malaysia’s trade at RM238.2 billion in November 2022, with a growth of 15.6% y-o-y.

Exports were valued at RM130.2 billion, surpassing imports valued at RM107.9 billion, yielding a trade surplus of RM22.3 billion. 

In December 2022, the trade surplus increased to RM27.8 billion, with exports of RM131.9 billion and imports of RM104.1 billion.  

Adding to this, Malaysia’s industrial production index in November 2022 recorded a 4.8% y-o-y increase, propelled by growth in the manufacturing index (4.8%), mining index (6.1%), and electricity index (1.2%).  

Similarly, the manufacturing sector’s sales soared by 11.8% to reach RM159.2 billion in November 2022, compared with RM142.4 billion a year ago.  

The positive growth was driven by increases in the sub-sectors of electrical and electronics products, up 19.0% y-o-y (October 2022: 16.6%), and petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products, up 15.0% y-o-y (October 2022: 23.8%). 

He also said that wholesale and retail trade sales value recorded a double-digit growth of 13.9 % y-o-y, reaching RM133.9 billion in November 2022. The increase was predominantly contributed by the retail trade sub-sector, which rose 22.8% to RM58.7 billion. This was followed by the wholesale trade sub-sector, which grew 5.6% (+RM3.1 billion) to RM59.5 billion, and the motor vehicle sub-sector, up 17.2% (+RM2.3 billion) to RM15.7 billion. 

Commenting on the current labour force situation, he said, “The number of employed persons increased by 498,300 persons, or 3.2% y-o-y, to 16.11 million persons, while the unemployment rate remained at 3.6 % for the third consecutive month."

For the full year of 2022, inflation rose to 3.3%, from a rate of 2.5% in the preceding year. Concurrently, the producer price index (PPI) for local production eased further to record 3.2% y-o-y in November 2022, and inched up to 3.5% in December 2022, with the overall PPI increasing 7.8% in 2022.  

In concluding his statement, Mohd Uzir said, “Going forward, Malaysia’s economic indicators are expected to moderate, despite the risk of a global economic slowdown, signalled by the leading index (LI), which decreased by 0.4% to 110.5 points in November 2022, compared with 110.9 points in November 2021.  

“Conversely, the LI’s monthly performance recorded an increase of 0.8% in November 2022, compared to a negative 0.3% in the previous month. Looking at the smoothed long-term trend in November 2022, the LI remained below 100.0 points.”

On the global front, he said the elevated inflation, higher interest rates, reduced investment, and disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict had resulted in the World Bank revising its global growth estimate for 2023.  

Based on the Global Economic Prospects report released in January 2023, global growth will slow to 1.7% this year, compared with the 3.0% projected six months prior. 

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