Despite MCO, Malaysia’s economic growth on upward trend – Chief Statistician

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PUTRAJAYA APR.: Industrial Production Index (IPI) grew 1.5 per cent in February 2021 and the increase was driven by the manufacturing index which grew 4.5 per cent supported by domestic and export-oriented products.

Chief Statistician of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Dr. Mohd Uzir Mahidin said, in line with this, Malaysia’s merchandise trade continued to expand with both exports and imports recording double-digit growth over the same month in 2020.

“Exports recorded the strongest year-on-year growth in 28 months, contributed by the expansion in domestic exports and re-exports,” he said in a statement here today (23rd April 2021).

He said, the main statistics for the first two months of the first quarter of 2021 indicate a path towards recovery despite the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) 2.0 and Conditional MCO in nearly all states.

In view of the agriculture sector, Mohd. Uzir said, the price of crude palm oil marked the highest level in the past 13 years and the price has the potential to remain high in line with the current positive market sentiment. On the contrary, the rubber production saw a different outlook by posting a marginal decline as against February 2020.

“However, month-on-month comparison observed an increase following the activation on the Rubber Production Incentive (IPG) scheme nationwide to assist smallholders”, Mohd. Uzir added.

He said, looking into the prices’ perspective, both indices showed increasing trend. The Producer Price Index local production which measures the costs for goods at the factory gate, rebounded year-on-year after experiencing negative growths for 11 consecutive months since March 2020.

According to Mohd. Uzir, the Consumer Price Index marked the first positive turn in February 2021 since 11 months ago with 0.1 per cent year-on-year. This is viewed as a sign that Malaysia’s inflation is making its return in the coming months following an upward trend in global oil prices influencing the fuel prices in the country which may cause the rise in prices of goods and services.

The statement said, in terms of labour market, year-on-year basis, the number of employed persons was still on a declining trend while the unemployment rate remained high. However, the number of employed persons continued to record marginal growth by 0.2 per cent in February as compared to the previous month, largely in particular segments of the services sector such as wholesale & retail trade; education and human health and social work activities.

 Meanwhile employed persons in manufacturing and construction sectors also continued to register positive month-on-month growth. With more businesses permitted to operate during MCO 2.0 as well as the reopening of schools throughout the country had also caused increase in labour demand.

 Mohd Uzir Mahidin concluded, “The Leading Index (LI) for February 2021 signals Malaysia is heading towards an economic uptick in the upcoming months as indicated by the growth rate of smoothed LI, which is consistently above trend and moving upwards.

 “Thus, corresponding with better performances of published statistics for January and February 2021, the statistics for March 2021 will fit the missing parcel in determining Malaysia’s economic performance for the First Quarter of 2021, which is scheduled to be released on 11th May 2021.” –Malaysia World News

 


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