Malaysia: Exports slow in May
July 5, 2011
In May, exports rose 13.8% over the same month the previous year to reach USD 18.3 billion. The reading came in below the previous month's 18.3% increase and undershot market expectations. Meanwhile, the 3-month moving sum of exports reached USD 58.6 billion, which was above the USD 57.3 billion registered in April and exceeded the pre-crisis peak of USD 56.5 billion recorded in July 2008 for the second consecutive month. According to Statistics Malaysia, the expansion in exports was mostly due to an increase in shipments of palm oil, chemical products and crude. Exports to Japan recorded strong gains due to rising shipments of crude petroleum, wood products as well as electrical and electronic goods, suggesting that Japan still needs to purchase substitutive inputs to account for the temporary shortfall in power generation. Meanwhile, exports to the ASEAN countries (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) declined marginally, while shipments to China recovered compared with the previous month. On the other hand, import growth slowed to 13.9% in May from a 16.5% expansion tallied in April. As a result, the trade surplus narrowed to USD 2.8 billion from USD 3.7 billion in April.