In February sales dropped by 2 percent from a year earlier to MYR 70.3 billion, following a 17.9 percent rise in January and missing market consensus of a 8.3 percent growth. It was the first decline in outbound shipments since October 2016, due to the decrease in palm oil and palm oil-based products (-21.6 percent to MYR 5.5 billion, 7.8 percent share); natural rubber (-40.1 percent to MYR 303 million, 0.4 percent share); timber and timber based products (-18.9 percent to MYR 1.4 billion, 2 percent share); liquefied natural gas (-11.8 percent to MYR 2.9 billion, 4.1 percent share), and electrical & electronic products (-0.1 percent to MYR 35 billion, 35 percent of total exports). In contrast outbound shipments rose for both crude petroleum (3 percent to MYR 2.4 billion, 3.5 percent share) and refined petroleum products ( 29.1 percent to MYR 5.3 billion, 7.5 percent share).
Exports to China went down (9.7 percent), followed by those the ASEAN countries (11.4 percent); the EU countries (3 percent), and Singapore (6 percent), but increased to the US (3.3 percent).
Imports fell 2.8 percent year-on-year to MYR 63.1 billion in February of 2018, after a 11.6 percent increase in the prior month while market expected of a 7.1 percent gain. It marked the first decline in inbound shipments in 15 months, as purchases delined for intermediate goods (-14.7 percent to MYR 32.8 billion), led by fuel & lubricants, primary (-59.8 percent); parts & accessories of capital goods, except transport equipment (-13 percent); fuel & lubricants, processed, others (-25.6 percent), and food & beverages, processed, mainly for industries (-36.5 percent). In contrast, purchases increased for consumption goods (12.6 percent to MYR 5.2 billion), led by durbales (18.5 percent); non-durables (16.3 percent), and semi-durables (31.4 percent). Also, capital goods grew by 6 percent to MYR 7.7 billion, mainly due to the increase in both transport equipment, industrial (284.1 percent) and capital goods except transport equipment (11.8 percent).
In January the trade surplus stood at MYR 9.7 billion
Considering January to February 2018, the trade surplus was MYR 18.7 billion, with exports rising by 7.8 percent compared to the same period a year earlier and imports increasing by 4.6 percent.