Malaysia: Exports continue to taper in March
May 3, 2019
Exports fell 4.7% year-on-year in March in USD terms, less severely than in February when exports dropped 9.9%. The result came on the back of a sharp rebound in the exports of refined petroleum products and a softer drop in the exports of palm oil and palm oil-based products. In contrast, crude oil exports contracted at a sharper pace in March compared to February and the exports of electrical and electronic products declined in March, contrasting February’s rise. In ringgit terms, exports fell 0.5% year-on-year.
Imports, meanwhile, dropped 4.4% in March in year-on-year and USD terms, up from the 13.8% reduction registered in February. This reflected a rebound in imports of intermediate and consumption goods, with the latter expanding robustly in March, offset by decreases in capital goods imports. In ringgit terms, imports dropped 0.1% year-on-year.
Consequently, the trade surplus jumped from USD 2.7 billion in February to USD 3.5 billion in March. That said, the sum is still down from the USD 3.7 billion logged in March 2018. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus, meanwhile, narrowed to USD 30.4 in billion in March from USD 30.6 billion a month earlier.
Author: Steven Burke, Economist