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Thursday, 7 January 2016 | MYT 12:00 PM

Malaysia’s November exports weaker than expected, LNG weigh (Update)

Both November 2015 exports and imports were below economists expectations.

Both November 2015 exports and imports were below economists expectations.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s exports in November 2015 rose at a slower pace of 6.3% to RM67.63bil from the RM63.59bil a year ago caused by a decline in exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) due to the lower average unit value.

Based on the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) data released on Thursday, the exports were sharply below economists’ expectations of a 12% growth on-year, day. The exports were also down 12.1% from the RM75.81bil in October.

“Lower exports of mining goods in November 2015 were affected mainly by contraction in exports of LNG by 20.5% or RM1.04billion caused by lower average unit value,” it said.

Matrade said exports of manufactured goods grew by 9% to RM54.03bil and of agricultural goods by 9.2% to RM5.64bil. However, exports of mining goods fell 11% to RM7.6 billion.

It pointed out there were significant increases in exports of manufactured goods, petroleum products, machinery, appliances and parts, optical and scientific equipment, chemicals and chemical products. Exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products eked out a marginal increase of 0.6% or RM128.3mil to RM23.11bil.

Matrade said exports to China grew by 14.2% or RM1.22bil to RM9.75bil, which was the sixth consecutive months of double digit growth recorded since June 2015.

Overall trade with China trade with China rose 15.6% to RM21.26bil from a year ago.

Malaysia’s imports in November increased 9.1% to RM57.39bil from RM52.59bil a year ago. However, the growth in imports on-year was also below economists expectations of a 12% increase.

When compared with October’s imports of RM63.64bil, this was a decline of 10.8%. Total trade surplus in November was RM10.23bil.

Matrade said the three main categories of imports by end use were intermediate goods (55.5% share of total imports), increased by 1.5% to RM31.84 billion, due to higher imports of electronic integrated circuits. Capital goods, which account for a 14.2% shares, rose 2.6% to RM8.16bil, due to higher imports of trucks.

Imports of consumption goods  jumped 43.8% to RM5.82bil contributed by higher imports of food products and garments.

For the 11 months ended November last year, total exports were higher by 1.9% at RM711.64bil compared with RM698.05bil in the previous corresponding period.

Imports were slightly higher at RM625.34bil in the January-November 2015 period from RM624.48bil a year ago.

Malaysia’s total trade surplus for January to November 2015 rose to RM86.308bil from RM73.577bil a year ago.

"The export figures are a little bit disappointing, but considering what we've seen in the rest of the region, Malaysia's (export numbers) are still going up and that's going to continue going forward," Euben Paracuelles, an economist with Nomura in Singapore, was quoted saying by Reuters.

"Outside of commodities, a lot of Malaysia's manufactured exports are going to the U.S. and this should help to offset the effects from the slowdown in China." 

Malaysia only reports trade figures in ringgit, which slumped more than 18% against the US dollar in 2015.

On the trade surplus of RM73.6bil, Reuters quoted Rahul Bajoria, economist at Barclays Bank, Singapore as saying: "This should provide some relief to the current account balance."

ANZ said it expected the current account to "remain comfortably in surplus", increasing from 3.4% of gross domestic product to 4.5% in 2016.

Tags / Keywords: Economy

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