Malaysia Trade Surplus Widens Sharply in August

Malaysia's trade surplus increased sharply to MYR 10.9 billion in August of 2019 from MYR 1.4 billion in the same month of the prior year and beating market expectations of a MYR 10.4 billion surplus, as exports fell less than imports.
Department of Statistics, Malaysia l Chusnul Ch Manan| l 10/4/2019 8:36:13 AM
Year-on-year, exports unexpectedly dropped by 0.8 percent year-on-year to MYR 81.4 billion in August 2019, missing market consensus of a 2.5 percent rise and after a 1.7 percent gain in the previous month. Sales decreased for electrical & electronic products (-7.4 percent); crude petroleum (-40 percent); liquefied natural gas/LNG (-11.2 percent). By contrast, outbound shipments increased for: palm oil & palm oil-based products (16.7 percent); refined petroleum products (7.7 percent); timber and timber-based products (1.7 percent), and natural rubber (3.7 percent).

Among major trading partners, sales dropped to China (-2.8 percent), led by electrical & electronic products and refined petroleum product; Singapore (-7.2 percent), driven by electrical and electronic products; while those to the US increased by 6.8 percent.

Imports plunged by 12.5 percent year-on-year to MYR 70.4 billion in August 2019, worse than market expectations of an 8 percent drop and compared to a 5.9 percent fall in the previous month. Imports of capital goods tumbled 31 percent, due to decline in both capital goods except transport equipment (-23.3 percent) and transport equipment, industrial (-70.6 percent). Also, purchases of intermediate goods decreased by 13.9 percent, mainly attributed to industrial supplies, processed (-10.7 percent); parts and accessories of capital goods (-12 percent); fuel & lubricants, primary (-38 percent), and fuel & lubricants, processes, others (-97.4 percent). In addition, imports of consumption goods contracted 12.8 percent, driven by semi-durables (-30.7 percent) and durables (-38.4 percent).

By country, purchases dropped from the EU countries (-20.3 percent), the ASEAN countries (-16.9 percent). Meanwhile, imports from China tumbled by 11.5 percent, mainly due to electrical & electronic/E&E products. Also, imports from Singapore slumped 18.1 percent, led by refined petroleum products.
Considering the first eight months of the year, the country's trade balance recorded a surplus of USD 92.5 billion, compared with a surplus of USD 70.2 billion in the same period 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. 

Malaysia Trade Surplus Widens Sharply in August