Malaysia: Export growth accelerates noticeably in October
December 5, 2018
Malaysian export growth accelerated markedly from a revised 7.9% in September (previously reported: +8.0% year-on-year) to 19.6% in October over the same month a year ago in USD value terms. While palm oil and palm oil-based products contracted at a slightly steeper pace, exports growth in refined petroleum products picked up noticeably and electrical and electronic products exports grew nearly a quarter over the same month a year earlier. In ringgit terms, exports expanded 17.7% year-on-year.
Growth in imports swung from a revised 1.6% contraction in September (previously reported: -1.5% yoy) to a 13.2% yoy expansion in October. The rebound in imports reflected a pick up in intermediate goods imports and strong growth in consumption goods imports. Capital goods imports, however, contracted again, albeit at a more moderate pace. In ringgit terms, imports expanded 11.4% over the same month a year ago.
Consequently, the trade surplus widened somewhat from USD 3.7 billion in September to USD 3.9 billion in October. The result was markedly above the USD 2.4 billion surplus registered in October 2017 and marked the largest surplus in seven years. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus increased from USD 28.1 billion in September to USD 29.7 billion in October.
Malaysia Trade Balance Forecast
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports and imports to grow 5.5% and 6.0% respectively in 2019, with the trade surplus reaching USD 25.7 billion. In 2020, they see export and import growth at 7.6% and 7.3% respectively, with the trade surplus narrowing to USD 28.4 billion.
Author: Jan Lammersen, Economist