Year-on-year, exports increased by 2.5 percent to MYR 84.1 billion in May 2019, below market consensus of a 3.6 percent gain and after a 1.1 percent rise in the previous month. Sales rose for: electrical and electronic products/E&E (0.5 percent); palm oil and palm oil-based products (7.6 percent); timber and timber based products (15.0 percent); natural rubber (5.3 percent). By contrast, outbound shipments declined for: crude petroleum (-20.0 percent); refined petroleum products (-15.5 percent), and liquefied natural gas products (-5.2 percent).
Outbound shipments went up to the US 911.7 percent); Singapore (2.6 percent) amid faster demand of refined petroleum products. By contrast, export to China decreased by 2.2 percent, led by E & E products.
Imports to Malaysia increased by 1.4 percent year-on-year to MYR 75.1 billion in May 2019, after a 4.4 percent gain in April and below market expectations of a 2.6 percent rise. This was the second straight month increase in imports, as imports rose for both intermediate and consumption goods. Purchases of intermediate goods increased (6.4 percent), due to rises in industrial supplies, processed (16.1 percent), fuel & lubricants, processed, other (38.8 percent), and part and accessories of transport equipment (28.8 percent). Also, inbound shipments of consumption goods grew 10.9 percent, led by food and beverages, processed mainly for household consumption (19.2 percent), non-durable (13.2 percent), and durable (12.3 percent) Meantime, imports of capital goods fell 5.9 percent, attributed to transport equipment industrial (-60.1 percent).
By country, purchases went up from both the EU countries (6.2 percent) and the ASEAN countries (4.4 percent), while declined from China (-2.1 percent), mainly due to refined petroleum products and electrical & electronic/E&E products. Also, imports from Singapore fell 5.8 percent, led by E & E products.
Considering the first five months of the year, the trade balance recorded a surplus of USD 56.9 billion, compared with a surplus of USD 54.5 billion in the same period of 2018.
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.