Malaysia's trade surplus increased to MYR 11.5 billion in January of 2019 from MYR 9.7 billion in the same month of the prior year and beating market expectations of a MYR 9.2 billion surplus. It was the largest trade surplus since October last year, as exports rose more than imports. Exports went up 3.1 percent to MYR 85.4 billion, above market consensus of a 1.4 percent increase. Meantime, imports increased at a slower 1.0 percent to MYR 73.9 billion, below estimates of a 1.2 percent gain.
Year-on-year, exports rose by 3.1 percent to MYR to MYR 85.4 billion in January 2019, after a 4.8 percent rise in December and beating market consensus of a 1.4 percent gain. Sales increased for: liquefied natural gas/LNG (37.5 percent to MYR 5.2 billion); electrical & electronic products (8.2 percent to MYR 34.3 billion), and timber and timber-based products (4.7 percent to 2.1 billion). By contrast, outbound shipments fell for: palm oil and palm oil-based products (-17.3 percent to MYR 5.4 billion); natural rubber (-5.6 percent to MYR 275.1 million); and refined petroleum products (-29.9 percent to MYR 3.7 billion); crude petroleum (-1.1 percent to MYR 2.5 billion).
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Outbound shipments went up to China (9.1 percent); Singapore (5.4 percent), and the US (9.4 percent) amid strong demand for manufactured goods.
Imports increased 1 percent from a year earlier to MYR 73.9 billion in January 2019, the same pace as in the prior month and below estimates of 1.2 percent rise. Purchases of consumption goods recorded a 3.3 percent gain to MYR 6.5 billion, consisting of 8.8 percent of total imports. The increase was mainly attributed to non-durables (13.5 percent); and durables (16.4percent). Meanwhile, imports of capital goods went down (-3.3 percent to MYR 9 billion (12.2 percent share), due to a fall in transport equipment, industrial (-50.2 percent) while imports of capital goods except transport equipment increased (1.9 percent). Also, purchases of intermediate goods fell 0.8 percent to MYR 37.5 billion, consisting of 50.7 percent share. The decrease was dragged by parts & accessories of capital goods except transport equipment (-14.5 percent) and fuel & lubricants processed, others (-45.2 percent) while imports rose for: fuel & lubricants, processed, others (36.7 percent); and industrial supplies processed (6.3 percent).
By country, imports from China advanced 17.5 percent, with refined petroleum products (128.7 percent) and electrical & electronic products (5.2 percent) expanding the most. Conversely, purchases from Singapore shrank 16.4 percent, driven by refined petroleum products (-37.4 percent) and electrical & electronic products (-9.9 percent).
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.