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Malaysia Trade November 2023

Malaysia: Merchandise exports slide at a sharper pace in November

Merchandise exports fell 7.4% annually in November (October: -5.5% year-on-year). The deterioration stemmed from an unfavorable base effect and weak demand for palm oil. These factors offset stronger exports for crude oil and manufactured goods. Meanwhile, merchandise imports were broadly stable, falling just 0.1% in annual terms in November (October: -1.4% yoy), marking the strongest reading since February 2023.

As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 2.6 billion surplus in November (October 2023: USD 2.7 billion surplus; November 2022: USD 4.7 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend pointed down, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 50.9 billion surplus in November, compared to the USD 53.0 billion surplus in October.

Julia Goh and Loke Siew Ting, economists at UOB, commented on the outlook:

“Our expectation of an export growth rebound […] in 2024 is reinforced by signs of a further recovery in the global tech cycle, an expected improvement in China’s economy and a projected soft landing in the advance economies with gradual monetary policy loosening going into next year. That said, a potential escalation in geopolitical tensions and tighter-than-expected financial and monetary conditions are wildcards to our export growth outlook.”

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