Malaysia Trade Surplus Narrows Sharply In March
Malaysia's trade surplus fell sharply to MYR 5.41 billion in March of 2017 from MYR 11.19 billion in the same month the prior year. The figure came in below market consensus of a MYR 9.1 billion surplus, as exports rose much less than imports.
In March, sales went up 24.1 percent from a year earlier to MYR 82.6 billion, following a 26.5 percent growth in February and above market consensus of a 19.2 percent rise. It was the fifth straight month of growth, driven by electrical & electronic products (21.2 percent to MYR 29.3 billion, 35.4 percent of total exports), palm oil and palm based products (25.3 percent to MYR 6.5 billion, 7.8 percent share), crude petroleum (74.1 percent to MYR 3.1 billion, 3.7 percent share), natural rubber (111.6 percent to MYR 560.9 million, 0.7 percent share), and timber and timber-based products (12.4 percent to MYR 2.2 billion, 2.7 percent share). Exports soared to China (40.3 percent), followed by those to the EU countries (28.1 percent) and the US (16.5 percent).
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Imports surged 39.4 percent to MYR 77.2 billion, much faster than a 27.7 percent rise in the prior month and beating expectations of a 28.6 percent gain. It was the fourth consecutive month of increase, as purchases jumped for all categories: intermediate goods (36.3 percent, due to industrial supplies, processed: 34.8 percent; parts & accessories of capital goods, except transport equipment: 28.5 percent and fuel & lubricants, primary: 223.2 percent), capital goods (82.4 percent, due to an increase in capital goods except transport equipment: 64.3 percent and transpport equipment, industrial: 348.8 percent) and consumption goods (14.0 percent, due to semi-durables: 25.7 percent, durable: 28.9 percent and non-durable: 12.7 percent).
In February 2017, trade surplus came in at MYR 8.71 billion.