Penang’s Key Economic Indicators

By Azmil Akil

January 2023 STATISTICS
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Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Labour Force


Penang’s inflation is mainly attributable to Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages (7.6%), Restaurants & Hotels (7.6%) and Transport (5.3%). Key factors contributing to this situation include an increase in demand for goods and services post-pandemic and an increase in the cost of production, which may be partly due to shortages of raw materials and increase in minimum wage.

External Trade

Penang’s exports increased by 14% in 2021. That year, the increase in imports into this state was significant as well, reaching about 26.9 percentage points. This led to it having the lowest trade balance at RM101.2 billion. This was a decrease of 9.1 percentage points compared to the previous year.

Investment in Manufacturing

Foreign investment remains the main contributor to manufacturing investment in Penang; outstandingly so in 2021 despite the Covid-19 pandemic, when it contributed 97.6% of total investment. For the first six months of 2022, domestic investment shows some catching up, which may be due to spillover effects of foreign investment. 

Azmil Akil

graduated from Universiti Malaysia Sabah with a Master of Economics and Bachelor of Economics (Human Resource Economics). His research interests include macroeconomics and financial economics.