Malaysia: Exports accelerate amid stronger demand for commodities
January 12, 2011
In November, exports increased 5.3% over the same month the previous year to reach MYR 52.7 billion (USD 16.8 billion). The reading represented an acceleration compared to October's 1.3% expansion and marked one full year of positive growth in exports. According to Statistics Malaysia, the increase in exports was buttressed by higher demand for commodities, in particular palm oil and palm oil-based products (+42.1% year-on-year) as well as liquefied natural gas (+28.2% yoy). In contrast, shipments of electrical and electronic products, which are Malaysia's main export goods, contracted 11.6% over the same month last year. Meanwhile, imports decelerated from a 12.5% expansion in October to 6.1% in November. As a result, the trade surplus widened from MYR 6.9 billion (USD 2.2 billion) in October to MYR 9.0 billion (USD 2.9 billion). Despite the sustained recovery observed throughout the year, exports remain below pre-crisis levels. In fact, the 3-month sum remained virtually unchanged from October at MYR 158 billion (USD 50.7 billion), which is well below the peak of MYR 186 billion (USD 55.8 billion) tallied in September 2008.