Malaysia’s record exports in November driven by stronger demand

by FARA AISYAH / pic by TMR file

Strengthening demand in major economies and gradual rising in global commodity prices are key supporting factors for Malaysia’s robust trade performance in November 2017, said MIDF Research.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia’s data last week showed that exports value reaches new record high in November 2017 at RM83.5 billion, recording a 14.4% year-on-year (YoY) increase from a year ago, on higher manufactured goods demand.

According to the department, exports of manufactured goods in November 2017 increased by 18.2% or RM10.63 billion YoY to RM68.98 billion or 82.6% of Malaysia’s total exports.

“Liquefied natural gas (LNG) — which contributed 4.2% to total exports — grew RM243.7 million or 7.5% to RM3.5 billion due to the increase in export volume (8.7%) although average unit value dropped 1.1%.

“Timber and timber-based products — which accounted for 2.5% of total exports — grew RM217.6 million or 11.5% to RM2.1 billion,” the department said.

MIDF Research also expects Malaysia’s external trade performance to continue expanding in December, thus boosting economic growth for the fourth quarter of 2017 (4Q17).

The research firm said it would be the 12-consecutive months of double-digit expansion in exports since December 2016.

On a month-on-month (MoM) basis, exports increased 1.5% or RM1.2 billion from RM82.3 billion, with main contributers including electrical and electronics, LNG, as well as timber and timber-based products.

Meanwhile, imports grew 15.2% from RM63.9 billion YoY due to higher imports of intermediate goods, capital goods and consumption good.

“Intermediate goods — which constituted 54.9% of total imports — increased RM4.9 billion (13.8%) to RM40.4 billion. The growth was attributed to industrial supplies, processed and parts and accessories of capital goods except for transport equipment.

“Imports of capital goods — which represented 14% of total imports — grew RM1.1 billion or 12.2% to RM10.3 billion due to the increase in capital goods (except transport equipment),” the department stated.

Imports of consumption goods — which accounted for 8.9% of total imports — recorded an increase of 6.6% or RM408.2 million to RM6.6 billion. The increase was mainly contributed by food and beverages, processed, mainly for household consumption and durables.

Total imports rose RM1.7 billion (2.4%) from RM71.9 billion on a MoM basis, which was contributed by the same goods.

Although a trade surplus of RM9.9 billion was recorded in November 2017 — rising RM835.3 million (9.2%) from the RM9.1 billion registered a year ago, it recorded a decline of RM493 million (4.7%) compared to the previous month.