A worker inspects a container at North Port in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur in this January 8, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad/Files

In the fourth quarter of 2023 (4Q23), Malaysia’s economy is projected to experience a slight growth of 3.4%, a marginal improvement from the preceding quarter’s 3.3%, according to the statistics department.

Chief Statistician Uzir Mahidin emphasized the services sector’s pivotal role as the primary contributor to economic performance during this period, showcasing positive growth across all sectors, reported Bernama.

In terms of monthly economic indicators, Malaysia’s Industrial Production Index (IPI), measuring real output in manufacturing, mining, and electric industries, displayed a 0.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) increase in November 2023.

Uzir said “The marginal increase was supported by expansion in the mining sector at 1.9% and in the electricity sector at 4.2%. However, the manufacturing sector experienced a downturn, registering a negative 0.1% after two consecutive months of positive growth.”

Sales in the manufacturing sector declined by 2.6% y-o-y in November 2023 to RM155 billion, primarily driven by a substantial 10.8% drop in the petroleum, chemical, rubber, and plastic products sub-sector, along with a 5.3% decline in the electrical and electronics products sub-sector.

The wholesale and retail trade sector exhibited growth, recording a 6.2% y-o-y increase in monthly sales to RM142.6 billion in November 2023.

This growth was primarily driven by the wholesale trade sub-sector, which rose by 6.2%, or RM3.7 billion, to RM63.2 billion. Retail trade and motor vehicles followed with 4.4% (+RM2.6 billion) and 12.7% (+RM2.0 billion) growth, respectively.

In terms of inflation, the rate remained at 1.5% in December 2023. On the trade front, Malaysia’s total trade contracted by 2.4%, declining from RM237.6 billion in November 2022 to RM231.8 billion.

Exports experienced a 5.9% decrease to RM122.1 billion, while imports increased by 1.7% to RM109.7 billion—an annual increase for the first time since February 2023. The trade balance remained in surplus at RM12.4 billion, reflecting a 43.1% decrease from the previous year.

In December 2023, total trade amounted to RM225.1 billion, with RM118.5 billion in exports and RM106.7 billion in imports.

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