In December, sales increased by 4.7 percent from a year earlier to MYR 79.3 billion, following a 14.4 percent jump in November and below market consensus of a 12.4 percent growth. It was the 14th straight month of growth in outbound shipments, driven by electrical & electronic products (6.2 percent to MYR 28.7 billion, 36.2 percent of total exports); liquefied natural gas (4.8 percent to MYR 4.1 billion, 5.1 percent share), and crude petroleum (6.9 percent to MYR 2.7 billion, 3.4 percent share).
In contrast outbound shipments fell for : refined petroleum products (-6.2 percent to MYR 4.6 billion, 5.8 percent share); timber and timber-based products (-11.4 percent to MYR 1.8 billion, 2.3 percent share); palm oil and palm oil-based products (-0.4 percent to MYR 6.4 billion, 8 percent share), and natural rubber (-24.4 percent to MYR 322.5 million, 0.4 percent share).
Exports to China went up (12.8 percent), followed by those the EU countries (11.4 percent), and Singapore (3.3 percent). In contrast, outbound shipments fell to the ASEAN countries (-0.5 percent).
Imports rose 7.9 percent year-on-year to MYR 72.1 billion, after a 15.2 percent surge in the prior month while markets expected a 13.4 percent growth. It marked the 13th straight month of increase in inbound shipments, as purchases increased for capital goods (35.2 percent to MYR 12.2 billion), mainly due to transport equipment, industrial (534.3 percent), and capital goods except transport equipment (2.7 percent).
In contrast, purchases declined for intermediate goods (-0.7 percent to MYR 38.2 billion), led by parts & accessories of capital goods, except transport equipment (-1.4 percent), food & beverages, processed, mainly for industries (-26.8 percent), and industrial supplies, processed (-4.8 percent). Also, purchases of consumption goods went down 2.6 percent to MYR 6.2 billion, led by food and beverages, processed mainly for house consumption (-12.5 percent) and semi-durables (-4.2 percent).
In November 2017, the trade surplus stood at MYR 9.9 billion.