Malaysia: Merchandise exports drop in March
Merchandise exports contracted 7.3% over the same month last year in March, contrasting February’s 5.2% rise. The outturn marked the sharpest decline since May 2020. Meanwhile, merchandise imports decreased 7.7% over the same month last year in March (February: +7.8% yoy), marking the weakest reading since November 2020.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved from the previous month, recording a USD 6.0 billion surplus in March (February 2023: USD 4.5 billion surplus; March 2022: USD 6.3 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend deteriorated, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 57.3 billion surplus in March, compared to the USD 57.7 billion surplus in February.
Analysts at the UOB commented on the outlook:
recession risks amid a tighter monetary policy environment will continue to suppress global demand this year. Expectations for a tightening of credit conditions following the recent global banking sector turmoil will further amplify the global recession risk and dent business confidence in the near term.”