Malaysia: Exports decelerate in December
February 11, 2011
In December, exports increased 4.6% over the same month the previous year to a total of MYR 57.2 billion (USD 18.3 billion). The print represented a slight deceleration compared to November's 5.3% increase but contrasted market analyst expectations, which had exports contracting 0.9%. According to Statistics Malaysia, the increase in exports was mostly due to higher sales of commodities. The value of palm oil and palm oil-based exports rose 40.3% over the same month the previous year, which was boosted by a 48.9% price increase. In contrast, shipments of electrical and electronic products, which represent more than a third of total exports, contracted 6.8%. Meanwhile, imports picked up and expanded 11.5%, up from a 6.1% increase in November. As a result, the trade surplus widened from MYR 9.0 billion (USD 2.9 billion) in October to MYR 9.7 billion (USD 3.1 billion). Despite the sustained recovery, exports remain subdued, with the 3-month moving sum at MYR 165 billion (USD 52.9 billion), well below the MYR 186 billion (USD 55.8 billion) peak reached in September 2008. Based on monthly data, exports totaled USD 199 billion in the full year 2010, which represented a 26.3% expansion in USD terms.