Malaysia economy maintains pace in first half of the year

Key economic indicators reveal an encouraging performance in Malaysia according to the statistics department on Friday.

Coupled with a low base in May last year, trade in Malaysia continued to rise on a year-on-year basis at 48.7%, with double-digit growth continuing for four straight months, said chief statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin.

Malaysia’s exports also rose by 47.3%, whilst imports increased 50.3%.

In addition, Uzir said the Industrial Production Index in May continued its pace of double-digit growth, increasing 26% compared to the same month in 2020.

All sectors fuelled the rise, predominantly manufacturing and mining, 29.8%, wholesale and retail trade, 28.3% and natural rubber, 33.8%.

Furthermore, the inflation rate in Malaysia exceeded 4% for the second time in 2021, bolstered by the ongoing rise in the global Food Price Index which increased food costs in the country.

The Consumer Price Index edged up 4.4% to 123.1, compared to 117.9 during the same month last year. This largely led to the rise in housing, transport, utilities and other fuels, household equipment and food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Uzir went on to add that the country’s workforce increased by 3.8 million (2.4%), to bring the total to 16.1 million. The total number of unemployed people currently stands at 15.37 million.

“Malaysia’s economy is expected to face challenges in maintaining the recovery momentum. While the key economic indicators for the first five months of 2021 show encouraging performance, the Leading Index which anticipates the economic direction in the near future posted slower growth of 6.9% in May as against 15.7% in April,” stated the chief statistician.