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KUALA LUMPUR 1 MAC 2019. Permandangan bandaraya Kuala Lumpur. NSTP/OSMAN ADNAN

KUALA LUMPUR: Business sentiment among Malaysia companies has increased for the fourth consecutive quarter in Q1 this year, according to Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).

This is based on D&B Malaysia’s Business Optimism Index (BOI), which inched up by 0.64 percentage points from 9.58 percentage points in Q4 2019 to 10.22 percentage points in Q1 2020.

On a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis, BOI increased by 1.30 percentage points from 8.92 percentage points in Q1 2019 to 10.22 percentage points in Q1 2020.

The six business indicators under the quarterly BOI study were volume of sales, net profits, selling price, inventory level, employees and new orders, the firm said in a statement today.

This is the 28th D&B BOI study being released in Malaysia.

“The Malaysian economy is on a promising path with the improved outlook is primarily driven by the services, transportation and mining sectors for the first quarter of 2020.

“However, we are also cautious in our outlook as growth is expected to remain modest as global manufacturing and investment downturn will continue to weigh on exports,” Dun & Bradstreet (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd chief executive officer Audrey Chia said.

Persistent trade tension and commodity-related shock is also placing pressure on Malaysia to expand its export market to reduce their dependence on its existing export pool, she added.

“But as more countries are implementing protectionist measures – growth rates in the future are uncertain. Business investments have also remained relatively subdued, reflecting the elevated global trade uncertainties,” Chia said.

For Q1 2020, D&B said the services, transportation and mining were the most optimistic sectors while the construction was most downbeat.

The services sector had emerged as one of the most optimistic sectors with all six indicators in the positive zone, the firm noted. Majority of the indicators had increased upwards.

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