Malaysia Trade February 2017

Malaysia

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.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports to grow 2.3% in USD terms in 2017. Imports are expected to decline 3.9% in 2017, pushing the trade surplus to USD 23.3 billion. For 2018, the panel expects exports to grow 4.3%. With imports expected to rise 4.6% in 2018, panelists see the trade surplus rising to USD 23.5 billion.


Author:, Economist

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Malaysia Trade Chart


Malaysia Trade12m February 2017

Note: 12-month trade balance in USD billion and annual variation of the 12-month sum of exports and imports.
Source: Department of Statistics Malaysia (DSM) and FocusEconomics calculations.


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