KUALA LUMPUR: Businesses are anticipating improved conditions in the fourth quarter of the year according to  Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) business confidence indicator.

The confidence indicator increased by 3.2 per cent for the fourth quarter (Q4) 2023, up from 0.7 per cent in Q3 2023.

Chief statistician Malaysia Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said  services, industry, and construction are the three sectors that anticipate better business conditions in Q4 2023.

"The business confidence for the services sector remains on a positive trajectory, with the confidence indicator increasing to 6.3 per cent against 6.1 per cent in the last quarter."

Meanwhile, the industry sector continues to be optimistic about business performance with a confidence indicator of 4.0 per cent for the corresponding quarter compared to 1.3 per cent in Q3 2023," he said in a statement.

According to data from DOSM, Mohd Uzir said sentiments within the construction sector reverted to a positive trajectory for the first time since the first quarter of 2018 by posting 1.7 per cent against −26.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2023.

However, he said businesses within the wholesale and retail trade sector expect a pessimistic business outlook, with the confidence indicator of −3.6 per cent in Q4 2023 as opposed to −1.5 per cent in the last quarter.

Looking ahead, Mohd Uzir said the business outlook for the period of October 2023 until March 2024 remains upbeat despite moderating, with a net balance of 9.8 per cent against 13.9 per cent recorded previously, with all sectors registering positively except the wholesale and retail trade.

"Sentiments in the services sector remain positive with a net balance of 19 per cent. For the next six months, all sub-sectors under the services sector anticipate a positive business environment. "The industry sector also foresees a brighter business outlook with a net balance of 7.5 per cent for the period of October 2023 until March 2024," he said.

On the construction sector, Mohd Uzir said after soaring to a positive trajectory in the second half of 2023, the construction sector continues to improve significantly, with a net balance of 27.6 per cent for the upcoming six months.

In addition, he said wholesale and retail trade expects a challenging business outlook for the following six months with a net balance of −4.6 per cent.".

This scenario is due to the pessimist sentiment from the wholesale trade sub-sector.

"Nevertheless, the retail trade subsector rebounded to a positive trajectory by recording 3.0 per cent for the expected six months ahead compared to −12.4 per cent recorded previously," he added.