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Malaysia’s latest leading index shows optimistic economic growth in near future

KUALA LUMPUR (XINHUA) – The leading index in Malaysia continued to inch up 2.3 per cent in March, reflecting an optimistic economic growth in the near future, official data showed on Friday.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) said in a statement that the leading index, which provides an early indication of significant turning points in the business cycle.

The direction of the economy in the near term, remained in positive growth for four consecutive months, rising to 112.2 points in March from 109.7 points a year ago.

According to the DOSM, the increase for the month was driven by strong performance of the Bursa Malaysia Industrial Index (25.4 per cent) and real imports of other basic precious and other non-ferrous metals (24.8 per cent).

Nevertheless, the monthly change of the leading index dropped 0.5 per cent, owing to unfavourable performance by the number of housing units approved (-0.7 per cent) and real imports of semiconductors (-0.4 per cent).

It is noted that the smoothed growth rate of the leading index for March 2024 is consistently above the trend, surpassing 100 points, reflecting an optimistic Malaysian economy in line with robust private consumption and external trade recovery.

As for the current economic position, the coincident index continued its positive growth by registering 125 points, growing 2.3 per cent compared to 122.2 points a year earlier.

Four components contributed positively to the latest increase, especially the real contributions of the Employees Provident Fund (19.6 per cent).

The monthly coincident index also recorded an increase of 0.6 per cent, supported by all components except the total employment in manufacturing (-0.1 per cent).