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Malaysia Trade January 2024

Malaysia: Merchandise exports increase in January

Merchandise exports rose 0.4% over the same month last year in January, following December’s 14.8% plunge. January’s outturn marked the strongest growth since February 2023. Meanwhile, merchandise imports rose 9.8% over the same month last year in January (December: -2.5% yoy), marking the strongest reading since October 2022.

The merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 2.2 billion surplus in January (December 2020: USD 2.5 billion surplus; January 2023: USD 4.2 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend pointed down, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 45.0 billion surplus in January, compared to the USD 47.1 billion surplus in December.

United Overseas Bank analysts Julia Goh and Loke Siew Ting commented on the outlook:

“January’s export outturn reinforces our view of a recovery in external trade this year, but the lingering macro headwinds still pose challenges to a more robust outlook in the coming months. An escalation and extension of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and the Red Sea Crisis will further disrupt global supply chain and lift costs; while an ongoing rout in China’s real estate sector and a restrictive global monetary policy stance for a prolonged period will likely keep external demand subdued and temper an expected upturn in the global tech cycle this year.”

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