Healthier economic outlook now, with vaccines available

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The start of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme today could also mark the coming of a healthier economic outlook in the next few months, based on the latest Malaysia’s Leading Index (LI) performance.

The Statistics Department said in a statement today that positive vibes were in line with the forecasts by local and international agencies that expected better economic conditions this year.

Chief Statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the LI recorded 108.8 points in December 2020 compared with 101.6 points in December 2019, sustaining an annual growth of 7.1% since November 2020.

The expansion in LI was mainly driven by the Bursa Malaysia Industrial Index, with the healthcare index and transportation & logistic index as the contributors.

However, the LI showed a decline of 0.3% in terms of monthly percentage change, due to a significant contraction in real money supply, M1, at negative 1% in December 2020.

“The implementation of prolonged movement restrictions also poses a rising concern over Malaysia’s economic growth.

“To mitigate the impact, the government responded proactively through the announcement of the Malaysian Economic and Rakyat’s Protection Assistance Package (Permai) to strengthen the current initiatives in place,” Uzir said.

Meanwhile, the Coincident Index (CI), which measures the overall current economic performance, grew 1.2% to 113.7 points in December 2020 from 112.4 points in the previous month.

All CI components contributed positively, especially the Industrial Production Index at 0.4%.

The growth was driven by the Manufacturing Index with major contributions from transport equipment & other manufactures (8.4%), petroleum, chemical, rubber & plastic products (7.7%) and electrical & electronics products (7.6%) sub-sectors.

Year-on-year, the CI indicated a better trend by showing a moderate contraction of 1.4% in the month under review from negative 2.3% in November 2020. -Bernama

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