Malaysia: External sector gains momentum
June 3, 2011
In April, exports climbed 18.3% over the same month the previous year to reach USD 19.2 billion. The reading virtually mirrored the previous month's figure but overshot market expectations. In addition, the 3-month moving sum of exports reached USD 57.3 billion, which was above the USD 56.0 billion registered in March and exceeded for the first time the pre-crisis peak of USD 56.5 billion recorded in July 2008. According to Statistics Malaysia, the expansion in exports was mostly due to an increase in shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG), palm oil and refined petroleum. Exports to Japan soared due to rising shipments of LNG, reflecting the increased demand as Japan needs to find substitutes for the temporary shortfall in nuclear power. In contrast, exports to China and ASEAN slowed somewhat compared with the previous month's figure. Meanwhile, import growth moderated from a 22.8% expansion in March to a 16.5% increase in April. As a result, the trade surplus narrowed to USD 3.7 billion from USD 4.5 billion in March.