Malaysia’s unemployment and trade data to remain weak in 2Q2020 on MCO impact – AmBank Research

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 12): AmBank Group Research expects Malaysia’s unemployment and trade data to remain weak in 2Q2020, as the impact from the movement control order (MCO) and now conditional MCO continue to weigh on both business and consumer confidence.

In an economics report today, AmBank Group chief economist and head of research Dr Anthony Dass said both the unemployment and trade data presented weaker numbers in March, suggesting the impact from the virus is hurting the economy.

Dass, who is also an adjunct professor in economics at the University of New England, Sydney, Australia, said it was more so with the containment measure of the MCO introduced on March 18.

Dass said the economic performance is expected to worsen in 2Q, before staging a modest recovery in 3Q and a further improvement in 4Q, supported by the relief and recovery measures.

“On that note, we expect the unemployment rate to hover around 4.5%–5.0% for the year,” he said.

Dass highlighted that disruptions to the supply chain and demand saw job losses in March increase by 85,300 to 610,500 from 525,200 in February.

“As a result, the unemployment rate rose to 3.9% from 3.3% in February – reporting a 11 year high,” he said.

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