Malaysia Trade Surplus Smallest in Near 5-1/2 Years
Malaysia's trade surplus narrowed sharply to MYR 1.6 billion in August of 2018 from MYR 9.9 billion in the same month of the prior year and far below market estimates of a MYR 9 billion surplus. It is the smallest trade surplus since April 2013, as exports fell while imports surged.
In August sales fell by 0.3 percent from a year earlier to MYR 81.8 billion from a 9.4 percent gain in July and missing market consensus of a 5.7 percent growth. It was the first decline since February, as sales declined for: palm oil and palm oil-based products (-22.9 percent to MYR 5.1 billion; 6.2 percent of total exports); liquefied natural gas/LNG (-22.5 percent to MYR 3.2 billion, 3.9 percent of total exports); natural rubber (-10.5 percent to MYR 337 million, 0.4 percent of total exports), and timber and timber-based products (-2.4 percent to 2.0 billion, 2.4 percent of total exports). By contrast, sales rose for: electrical & electronic products (3.2 percent to MYR 32 billion, 39.2 percent of total exports); crude petroleum (64.9 percent to MYR 3.3 billion, 4 percent of total exports); refined petroleum products (5.4 percent to MYR 4.5 billion, 5.5 percent of total exports).
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Sales shrank to the US (-2 percent); the EU (-8.9 pct) while went up to China (4.5 pct); Singapore (2.2 pct).
Imports surged 11.2 percent year-on-year to MYR 80.2 billion in August of 2018 from a 10.3 percent rise in the prior month, and beating market expectations of a 10.1 percent rise, as capital goods surged 25.3 percent to MYR 11.7 billion, mainly due to a rise in transport equipment, industrial (180.2 percent), and capital goods except transport equipment (13.1 percent). Also, imports of consumption goods increased 14.2 percent to MYR 7.1 billion), led by durables (57.9 percent); semi-durables (26.2 percent), and non-durables (6.3 percent). Additionally, purchases of intermediate goods rose 4.3 percent to MYR 45 billion, mainly due to an increase in parts and accessories of fuel lubricants, primary (126.4 percent), and parts and accessories of transport equipment (33.1 percent).
In July the trade surplus stood at MYR 8.3 billion.
Considering the first eight months of the year, the trade surplus increased to MYR 70.4 billion from MYR 63 billion in the same period of 2017.