Malaysia: Exports decelerate in January
March 11, 2011
In January, exports rose 3.0% over the same month last year (December: +8.5% yoy) to a total of MYR 54.0 billion (USD 17.6 billion), which was below market expectations that exports would rise 4.4% annually. In part, the weaker result reflects the Chinese New Year holidays, which disrupted regional trade in January. According to Statistics Malaysia, annual growth in exports was mostly attributable to higher exports of oil and crude products. Exports of palm oil and palm oil-based products rose 21.3% over the same month last year, boosted by a 36.0% price increase. In contrast, shipments of electrical and electronic products, which represent more than a third of total exports, contracted 19.0%. Meanwhile, imports picked up and expanded 13.5% annually, up from a 11.5% increase in December. Consequently, the trade surplus narrowed from MYR 9.7 billion (USD 3.1 billion) in December to MYR 9.2 billion (USD 3.0 billion) in January. Despite the sustained recovery, exports remain subdued, with the 3-month moving sum at MYR 164 billion (USD 52.8 billion), still below pre-crisis level's peak of MYR 182 billion recorded in September 2008.