Malaysia: Exports contract unexpectedly
February 8, 2013
In December, exports fell 1.7% in USD terms over the same month the previous year, which contrasted the 5.4% increase observed in November and defied market expectations. According to the Department of Statistics, the deterioration was mainly due to lower shipments for machinery and transport equipment as well as for manufactured goods. As a result, in the full year 2012, exports contracted 0.1% over the same period a year ago (2011: +14.4% year-on-year).
Meanwhile, imports decreased 2.5%, contrasting the 7.4% rise recorded in November. In annual terms, imports grew 5.1% in 2012, which came in well below the 13.5% expansion seen in 2011.
Finally, the trade surplus reached USD 2.7 billion in December. As a result, in 2012, the trade balance reached USD 30.8 billion, which was well below the USD 40.5 billion surplus recorded in 2011.