In January sales increased by 17.9 percent from a year earlier to MYR 82.9 billion, following a 4.7percent rise in December and above market consensus of a 11.4 percent growth. It was the 15th straight month of growth in outbound shipments, driven by electrical & electronic products (27.1 percent to MYR 31.7 billion, 38.2 percent of total exports); liquefied natural gas (14 percent to MYR 3.8 billion, 4.5 percent share); crude petroleum (0.1 percent to MYR 2.5 billion, 3 percent share); palm oil and palm oil-based products (10.4 percent to MYR 6.6 billion, 7.9 percent share); refined petroleum products ( 2.1 percent to MYR 5.3 billion, 6.4 percent share), and timber and timber based products (2.6 percent to MYR 2 billion, 2.4 percent share).In contrast outbound shipments fell for : natural rubber (-26 percent to MYR 291.4 million, 0.4 percent share).
Exports to China went up (17.9 percent), followed by those the ASEAN countries (15.6 percent); theEU countries (13.6 percent), the US (8.7 percent), and Singapore (8.5 percent).
Imports rose 11.6 percent year-on-year to MYR 73.2 billion, after a 7.9 percent gain in the prior month while markets expected a 8 percent growth. It marked the 14th straight month of increase in inbound shipments, as purchases increased for consumption goods (9.8 percent to MYR 6.3 billion), led by food and beverages, processed mainly for house consumption (13.2 percent); non-durables (11.6 perce t), and semi-durables (10.2 percent). In contrast, purchases declined for intermediate goods (-1.7 percent to MYR 37.7 billion), led by parts & accessories of capital goods, except transport equipment (-26.5 percent). Also, capital goods fell (-3.1 percent to MYR 9.3 billion), mainly due to the decrease in both transport equipment, industrial (-21.7percent), and capital goods except transport equipment (-0.5 percent).
In December 2017, the trade surplus stood at MYR 7.3 billion.