Malaysia: Exports deteriorate and trade surplus narrows in December
February 6, 2015
Exports recorded a 5.0% annual contraction in December, which was below November’s 2.3% drop. Despite the deterioration, December’s reading beat market expectations. The decline in exports resulted from the depreciation of the MYR against the U.S. dollar from an average of MYR 3.25 per USD in December 2013 to an average of MYR 3.48 per USD in December 2014. Exports in MYR terms actually increased in December compared to the same month of the previous year. According to the Department of Statistics, the improvement in exports in MYR terms was mainly driven by a rise in exports of electronics and electrical products, liquefied natural gas, as well as exports of timber and timber-based products. In contrast, exports of petroleum products and crude petroleum tallied decreases. Meanwhile, imports declined 3.6% in December, which was a less pronounced contraction than the 4.2% drop recorded in November.
The trade surplus fell from a USD 3.3 billion surplus in November to a USD 2.6 billion surplus in December (December 2013: USD 3.0 billion). The 12-month moving sum of the trade balance ticked down from a USD 25.7 billion surplus in November to a USD 25.3 billion surplus in December.
Author: Cecilia Simkievich, Economist