Year-on-year, exports rose by 6.7 percent to MYR to MYR 83.1 billion in September 2018, after a 0.3 percent fall in August and slightly above market consensus of a 6.5 percent rise. Sales increased for: electrical & electronic products (6.5 percent to MYR 32.9 billion, 39.6 percent of total exports); refined petroleum products (20.5 percent to MYR 5.7 billion, 6.8 percent share); crude petroleum (54.5 percent to MYR 2.7 billion, 3.2 percent share); and liquefied natural gas/LNG (1.8 percent to MYR 3.1 billion, 3.8 percent share). In contrast, outbound shipments fell for: palm oil and palm oil-based products (-11.5 percent to MYR 5.6 billion; 6.7 percent of total share); timber and timber-based products (-0.4 percent to 1.8 billion, 2.1 percent of total share); and natural rubber (-1.9 percent to MYR 306. million, 0.4 percent of total share).
Outbound shipments went up to Singapore (8.7 percent); the US (0.1 percent); and Hong Kong (48.7 percent), while declined to China (-0.6 percent); and Japan (-10.6 percent).
Imports fell unexpectedly by 2.7 percent from a year earlier to MYR 67.8 billion, missing expectations of a 9.8 percent gain and after a 11.2 percent growth in a month earlier. Purchases of intermediate goods dropped 9.3 percent to MYR 35.8 billion, consisting of 52.8 percent of total imports. The decrease was driven by parts & accessories of capital goods, except transport equipment (-24.1 percent); fuel & lubricants, processed, others (-44.8 percent); and fuel & lubricants, primary (-11.5 percent). Also, imports of capital goods shrank 25.2 percent to MYR 7.3 billion, consisting of 10.7 percent share, due to a drop in both transport equipment, industrial (-86 percent) and capital goods except transport equipment (-13.9 percent). In addition, purchases of consumption goods recorded a 10 percent drop to MYR 573.8 million, consisting of 7.6 percent share. The fall was mainly attributed to semi-durables (-31.4 percent); food & beverages, processed, mainly for household consumption (-6.2 percent) and durables (-12.7 percent).
Considering the first nine months of the year, the trade surplus increased to MYR 85.7 billion from MYR 71.2 billion in the same period 2017.