Malaysia Trade Surplus Narrows To 6-Month Low
Malaysia reported a MYR 4.71 billion trade surplus in January of 2017, compared to a MYR 5.39 billion surplus a year earlier while market expected a MYR 8.20 billion surplus. It was the smallest surplus since July 2016, as imports rose more than exports.
Year-on-year, sales increased by 13.6 percent to MYR 70.2 billion, following a 10.7 percent rise in December and below market consensus of a 15 percent growth. Sales increased for the third straight month, driven by electrical & electronic products (11.4 percent to MYR 24.9 billion, 35.4 percent of total exports), palm oil and palm oil-based products (23.3 percent to MYR 6 billion, 8.5 percent share), crude petroleum (48.1 percent to MYR 2.5 billion, 3.5 percent share), natural rubber (39.1 percent to MYR 393.7 million, 0.6 percent share) and LNG (2.8 percent to MYR 3.3 billion, 4.7 percent share). In contrast, outbound shipments fell for timber and timber-based products (-5.2 percent to MYR 1.9 billion, 2.8 percent share).
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Exports increased to China (31.6 percent), the ASEAN countries (13.9 percent), and Singapore (18.8 percent) and the EU countries (5.8 percent).
Imports to Malaysia increased 16.1 percent from a year earlier to MYR 65.58 billion in January of 2017, compared to 11.5 percent growth in the preceding month and higher than market expectations of a 10 percent increase. It was the third consecutive month of rise, as purchases went up for most categories: intermediate goods (+10.4 percent, due to industrial supplies, processed: 5.9 percent; parts & accessories of capital goods, except transport equipment: 9.6 percent and fuel & lubricants, primary: 98.4 percent), capital goods (35.2 percent, due to an increase in capital goods except transport equipment: 24.7 percent, transpport equipment, industrial 236.3 percent). In contrast imports for consumption goods declined (1.6 percent, due to a decrease in semi-durables (-5.2 percent), food & beverages, processed for household consumption (-2.8 percent).
In December 2016, trade surplus stood at MYR 8.72 billion.