Senior Economist at UOB Group Julia Goh and Economist Loke Siew Ting assess the latest investments figures in Malaysia.
“Malaysia’s total approved investments shot up 95.6% y/y to MYR80.6bn in 1Q21 (1Q20: -27.6% y/y to MYR41.2bn) despite the lingering COVID-19 pandemic challenges. The manufacturing sector continued to attract the highest level of investments (MYR58.8bn or 72.9% of total approved investments), followed by services (MYR15.6bn or 19.4%) and primary sector (MYR6.2bn or 7.7%).”
“The rebound in foreign direct investment (FDI) approvals was evident given higher foreign investment approvals of MYR54.9bn (or 68.1% of total) against MYR25.7bn (31.9%) of domestic investment approvals in 1Q21. Bulk of FDI was channelled into the manufacturing sector, accounting for MYR52.3bn or 95.2% of total FDI approvals. Among the leading sources of FDI in the manufacturing sector were Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Taiwan, China, USA, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, and Hong Kong.”
“The recovery in investment approvals will help stimulate private investments and expand productive capacity in sectors that continue to see robust growth and demand. As at Mar 2021, there are MYR54.4bn of proposed investments that may actualise this year. However, this is subject to the course of the pandemic, vaccination rates, containment measures, and global macro conditions. We expect total investment approvals to trend up to MYR185.0bn in 2021 (from MYR167.4bn in 2020).”