Year-on-year, exports unexpectedly fell by 5.3 percent to MYR 66.6 billion in February 2019, after a 3.1 percent rise in January and missing market consensus of a 1.4 percent gain. Sales decreased for palm oil & palm oil-based products (-13.4 percent to MYR 4.7 billion); refined petroleum products (-30.9 percent to MYR 3.6 billion); crude petroleum (-21.8 percent to MYR 1.9 billion); timber & timber-based products (-1.7 percent to MYR 1.4 billion) and natural rubber (-23.1 percent to MYR 0.2 billion). By contrast, outbound shipments increased for electrical & electronic products (4.9 percent to MYR 25.8 billion) and liquefied natural gas/LNG (8.6 percent to MYR 3.1 billion).
Outbound shipments went down to China (-1.6 percent); the US (-8.9 percent); and Singapore (-2.9 percent) amid slower demand of manufactures of metal, transport equipment and optical and scientific equipment
Imports to Malaysia dropped by 9.4 percent year-on-year to USD 55.5 billion in February 2019, the most since April 2016, worse than market consensus of a 0.6 percent fall and following a 1 percent rise in the previous month. Purchases fell for intermediate goods (-2.8 percent), mainly driven by industrial supplies processed (-7.4 percent), other fuel & lubricants processed (-43.3 percent) and parts & accessories of capital goods except transport equipment (-5.3 percent). Also, imports declined for consumption goods (-11.6 percent), namely semi-durables (-16.8 percent) and durables (-26.8 percent); and capital (-14.9 percent), of which industrial transport equipment (-51.5 percent).
By country, imports went down from China (-27 percent), as sales of electrical & electronic products (-18.9 percent) and refined petroleum products (-73.4 percent) fell the most; and Singapore (-17.2 percent), dragged by refined petroleum products (-35.1 percent) and aluminium (-96.6 percent).
Considering the first two months of the year, the trade balance recorded a surplus of USD 22.6 billion, compared with a surplus of USD 18.7 billion in the same period of 2018.
Malaysia’s total trade is projected to grow moderately by 5 percent in 2019 from 5.9 percent in 2018 due to uncertainties in the global market.