Malaysia: Export growth skyrockets to an over five-year high in February
April 5, 2017
Exports in USD terms grew an impressive 17.4% annually in February, which followed January’s 12.0% expansion and marked the fastest expansion since September 2011. Similarly, year-on-year exports to Malaysia’s top three trading partners—China, Singapore and the European Union—were strong in February and recorded double-digit increases. However, February’s strong result should be taken with a grain of salt as exports benefitted from a favorable low base effect. Last year, the Lunar New Year took place in February, while this year the festivities began in late January. Therefore, the surge in exports will likely fail to continue as base effects turn unfavorable in March.
According to the National Statistical Institute, February’s expansion was broad-based as it reflected increases in exports of electronic products, palm oil and palm-based products and crude oil, among other categories. Imports also increased in February, growing at the fastest pace since January 2013 (+18.6% year-on-year).
The trade balance widened from a USD 1.1 billion surplus in January to a USD 2.0 billion surplus in February. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus increased from USD 20.8 billion in January to USD 21.0 billion in February, the highest figure in four months.
Author: Luis Lopez Vivas, Economist