MALAYSIAS exports in June surged an unexpected 11.7% to RM44.52bil the second highest monthly export value ever recorded compared with the same period last year, with growth in all major export sectors.
The International Trade and Industry Ministry said in a statement yesterday the increase was mainly due to higher exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products, crude petroleum, refined petroleum products, liquefied natural gas and machinery, appliances and parts.
CIMB Securities Sdn Bhd head of economic research Lee Heng Guie said the growth in exports was surprisingly strong, given the softening global demand, especially in the first quarter of the year.
The growth rate surpassed market expectations as well as our rate of 8.3%. It shows how resilient our exports are, he said.
E&E products, which comprised RM22.85bil or 51.3% of total exports, recorded an increase of 11.6% from June 2004.
Palm oil, which made up RM2.17bil or 4.9% of total exports, saw an increase of 4.9% and crude petroleum, which constituted RM2.06bil or 4.6% of total exports, reported an increase of 34.5%.
Major export destinations contributing to the increase included the United States with export growth of 22%, followed by Asean 10.6%, India 32.7%, China 10%, the European Union 4.6%, United Arab Emirates 40%, Taiwan 14.5%, Hong Kong 5.6%, South Korea 13.3% and Australia 10%.
Lee expects export momentum to be strong going forward, as global chip sales look set to improve in the second half of the year.
Having said that, Lee noted that the export growth rate could be pulled down due to the higher base in the second half of 2004.
An analyst with a local stock broking firm also expects exports to hold at the current growth rate, especially with high crude oil prices and increasing demand from the E&E sector.
The ringgit has appreciated by less than 1.5% so far. Regional currencies have also appreciated, so the countrys competitiveness in terms of exports should not be eroded, he said.
Total imports in June grew 6% to RM36.78bil from RM34.70bil in June 2004, mainly because of higher imports of intermediate and capital goods.
Intermediate goods, which comprised RM26.1bil or 71% of total imports, showed an increase of 3% from June 2004; capital goods with a share of RM5.2bil or 14.1% of total imports, rose 12.5%; and consumption goods, which constituted RM2.05bil or 5.6% of total imports, grew 4.1%.
The countrys trade surplus also recorded a significant increase of 49.6% to RM7.74bil in June against that of June last year. This is the 92nd consecutive month of trade surplus since November 1997.
In the first half of the year, trade surplus jumped 28.3% to RM47.88bil from the corresponding period of 2004 total exports hit RM253.30bil, an increase of 12.2%; while total imports were up 9% at RM205.43bil.