Stats Dept: Malaysia’s leading index improved in Aug, economy likely to pick up in coming months

A Malaysia ringgit note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. — Reuters pic
A Malaysia ringgit note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — Malaysia saw its leading index (LI) improve in August 2021, with the contraction narrowing 2.3 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to 106.2 points versus a y-o-y contraction of 4.0 per cent (105.0 points) in July 2021.

“This indicated that the country’s economy is likely to pick up in the upcoming months,” the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) said.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the improved LI in August 2021 was influenced mainly by the drop in the number of housing units approved, following challenging real estate market and pessimistic sentiment among investors during the pandemic. 

“Taken together the better performance of the LI and the transition of more states under the National Recovery Plan (NRP), it is foreseen that the country’s economy is most likely to pick up in the upcoming months.

“Further to this, the economic development prospects formulated in the 12th Malaysia Plan will navigate economic recovery through long-term global and national agendas over 2021 to 2025,” he said in a statement today.

On a month-on-month (m-o-m) comparison, Mohd Uzir said the LI for August 2021 rebounded 1.1 per cent against a contraction of 0.6 per cent in July 2021, as most components posted positive growth primarily led by a hike in the expected sales value in manufacturing sector (up 1.3 per cent).

The LI is a predictive tool used to anticipate economic upturns and downturns in an average of four to six months ahead.

On the coincident index (CI), which reflects the current economic activity performance, Mohd Uzir said the contraction narrowed 1.6 per cent y-o-y to 108.2 points in August 2021 versus a contraction of 5.2 per cent y-o-y (110.0 points) in July 2021.

On a m-o-m basis, Mohd Uzir said the CI edged up 4.2 per cent in August 2021, mainly contributed by capacity utilisation in manufacturing sector (up 2.9 per cent ) and volume index of retail trade ( up 0.9 per cent). — Bernama

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