KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s key economic indicators continue to grow modestly in January 2023, despite ongoing geopolitical conflicts and ratcheting up of inflation in the global economy, said the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM).

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin (pix) said the country’s total trade noted a slower growth of 1.9 per cent in January 2023 to RM207.5 billion from RM203.6 billion in January 2022.

“Exports rose by 1.6 per cent to RM112.8 billion, while imports grew 2.3 per cent to RM94.7 billion.

“Meanwhile, the trade surplus shrank by 2.1 per cent from the previous year to RM18.2 billion,” he said in a statement today, in conjunction with the release of the Malaysian Economic Statistics Review (MESR) Vol 3/2023.

On the other hand, he said Malaysia’s trade performance in February 2023 grew 11.0 per cent, or RM20.3 billion, to RM205.0 billion from February 2022.

Exports rose 9.8 per cent to RM112.3 billion, and imports growth continued to outpace exports growth, increasing by 12.4 per cent to RM92.7 billion.

“The trade balance remained in surplus at RM19.6 billion, despite a decline of 1.3 per cent from the previous year,” he said.

He also stated that the manufacturing sector’s sales value rose modestly by 6.5 per cent to RM148.0 billion in January 2023 compared to 8.8 per cent in the preceding month.

“The continuous positive momentum was backed by the double-digit growth in transport equipment and other manufactures (14 per cent) as well as the petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products (10.1 per cent) sub-sectors,” he said

Mohd Uzir noted that the Industrial Production Index (IPI) growth moderated to 1.8 per cent in January 2023 against 2.9 per cent in the preceding month, weighed down partly by slower growth in the manufacturing sector’s output and a decline of the electricity output by 4.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, mining production expanded by 5.9 per cent.

He also said that the sales value of wholesale and retail trade in Malaysia stood at RM135.1 billion in January 2023, with a growth of 12.4 per cent.

The increase was attributed to the retail trade sub-sector which rose to RM10.6 billion, or 21.7 per cent, to record RM59.6 billion.

Motor vehicles and wholesale trade also grew by 20.1 per cent to RM15.2 billion, and 3.1 per cent to RM60.4 billion, respectively.

From the perspective of the price, he said Malaysia’s inflation in January 2023 recorded a slower increase of 3.7 per cent from 3.8 per cent in December 2022.

“The growth in inflation was still driven by three main groups, namely, restaurants & hotels (6.8 per cent), food & non-alcoholic beverages (6.7 per cent), and transport (four per cent).

“For February 2023, Malaysia’s inflation remained at 3.7 per cent,” he said.

Moving forward, Mohd Uzir said the recovery momentum is expected to continue in the following months albeit at a slower rate, stemming from the impact on Malaysia’s tourism following China reopening its borders as well as continuous improvement in the labour market. - Bernama