By NUR HANANI AZMAN / Pic by TMR FILE PIX
Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) registered a positive growth of 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2021(4Q21) compared to a decline of 4.5% in 3Q21 as economic activities resumed with the easing of containment measures.
With the turnaround in growth in the fourth quarter, the economy grew by 3.1% for 2021 as a whole, and the unemployment rate declined to 4.6%.
For comparison, Malaysia’s GDP registered a decline of 0.5% in 1Q21 and grew by 16.1% in 2Q21. On a year-to-year basis, Malaysia’s GDP in 2020 contracted by 5.6%, the biggest decline since 7.4% in 1998.
Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said the rebound in economic activity was aided by recovery in the labour market as well as continued policy support.
“In addition, strong external demand amid the continued upcycle in global technology provided a further lift to growth. On the supply side, all economic sectors recorded improvements in growth, led by the services and manufacturing sectors.
“On the expenditure side, growth was driven mainly by the improvement in household spending and trade activity. On a quarter-on- quarter seasonally-adjusted basis, the economy registered an increase of 6.6% (3Q21: -3.6%),” she said at a virtual press conference today.
Headline inflation increased to 3.2% during the quarter (3Q21: 2.2%). The higher inflation during the quarter was due mainly to the normalisation in electricity prices following the lapse of the three-month electricity bill discount implemented in July 2021.
Core inflation increased marginally to 0.8% during the quarter (3Q21: 0.7%) as economic reopening gathered momentum. For 2021 as a whole, average headline inflation was 2.5% (2020: -1.2%), while core inflation averaged at 0.7% (2020: 1.1%).
Growth in net financing to the private sector increased to 4.7% (3Q21: 3.9%), due mainly to higher outstanding loan growth at 4.4% (3Q21: 2.9%) as economic activity picked up.
Outstanding household loan growth grew by 4.2% (3Q21: 3.2%) with higher growth across most loan purposes. Loan applications and disbursements were substantially higher following the easing of movement restrictions, particularly for purchasing houses and passenger cars.
For businesses, outstanding loan growth increased to 4.8% (3Q21: 2.4%) and continued to be driven by higher working capital loans.