Malaysia's trade surplus increased sharply to MYR 10.3 billion in June of 2019 from MYR 6 billion in the same month of the prior year and above market expectations of a MYR 8.4 billion surplus. Exports fell 3.1 percent while imports dropped at a faster 9.2 percent.
Year-on-year, exports fell by 3.1 percent to MYR 76.2 billion in June 2019, missing market consensus of a 1.8 percent gain and after a 2.5 percent rise in the previous month. This was the first decline in exports since April, as sales decreased for both electrical & electronic products (-6.0 percent) and timber & timber based products (-17.6 percent). By contrast, outbound shipments increased for: crude petroleum (31.7 percent); palm oil & palm oil-based products (2.2 percent); natural rubber (10.7 percent); refined petroleum products (8.4 percent), and liquefied natural gas products (5.5 percent).
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Outbound shipments went down to China (-12.0 percent), led by electrical and electronic products; Singapore (-0.9 percent), amid slower demand of electrical and electronic products. By contrast, exports to the US rose by 8.8 percent.
Imports to Malaysia dropped by 9.2 percent year-on-year to MYR 65.9 billion in June 2019, after a 1.4 percent gain in May and missing market expectations of a 1.1 percent rise. This was the first decline in imports in three months, as imports fell for all categories: capital, intermediate, and consumption goods. Purchases of intermediate goods decreased (-2.5 percent), due to a fall in industrial supplies, processed (-11.3 percent). Meantime, increases were reported for fuel & lubricants, processed, other (20.5 percent), and industrial supplies, primary (27.2 percent). Also, inbound shipments of consumption goods went down 5.4 percent, led by semi-durables (-19.6 percent), and durables (-13.8 percent). Meantime, imports of capital goods fell 23.6 percent, attributed to capital good except transport equipment (-20.2 percent); transport equipment industrial (-44.6 percent).
By country, purchases dropped from: the EU countries (-7.2 percent); the ASEAN countries (-11.9 percent). Meanwhile, imports from China tumbled by 12.6 percent, mainly due to electrical & electronic/E&E products. Also, imports from Singapore slumped 14.3 percent, led by E & E products.
Considering the first half of the year, the trade balance recorded a surplus of USD 67.2 billion, compared with a surplus of USD 60.5 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.