Malaysia: Exports continue downturn midway through Q4
January 3, 2020
Merchandise exports shrank 4.6% year-on-year in USD terms in November, moderating from the 7.5% decline registered in October. In ringgit terms, exports fell 5.5% in November, softening from October’s 6.7% drop but underwhelming market expectations of a weaker 4.4% contraction.
The continued downturn came on the back of plunging exports of electrical and electronic products, and refined petroleum products, while palm oil shipments fell at a softer clip. Looking at Malaysia’s top export markets, demand from ASEAN, Hong Kong and Singapore declined in the month, whereas exports to the U.S. and China increased.
Imports, meanwhile, fell 2.7% year-on-year in USD terms in November, improving from the 9.5% contraction in October. The decline was mainly attributable to a drop in imports of capital goods, while intermediate goods and consumer goods imports both rebounded in the month.
As the contraction in imports softened, the trade surplus consequently shrank to USD 1.6 billion in November from the USD 4.1 billion surplus in October (November 2018: USD 2.0 billion). Meanwhile, the 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus edged down to USD 32.8 billion in November from October’s USD 33.2 billion sum.
Author: Lindsey Ice, Economist