PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s June 2010 external trade continued to see strong growth, albeit at a moderating pace, with exports expanding 17.2% year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM52.83bil, while imports soared 30.1% y-o-y to RM46.79bil.
Overall, total trade grew 22.9% y-o-y to RM99.62bil, the International Trade and Industry Ministry said yesterday. Malaysia continued to enjoy healthy trade surplus, which totalled RM6.04bil in June. That was the 152th consecutive month of trade surpluses for the country since November 1997.
“While exports continued to expand at double-digit pace in June as it did in preceding months in the first half of the year, the expected continued moderation in growth rate suggests to us that Malaysia’s export growth could have already peaked in the first quarter,” Singapore-based Standard Chartered Bank economist Alvin Liew said in his note.
June’s exports growth was somewhat in line with economists’ expectations.
According to TA Research economist Patricia Oh, given that exports growth has come off the low-base effect, a slowing growth is only natural.
“We believe that problems in Europe and easing Chinese appetite, amid the backdrop of high employment and weaker consumer sentiment in G3 markets (US, Japan and Euro region) could be reasons for the growth moderation,” Liew said.
On the imports growth in June, which exceeded economists’ expectations, economists attributed that to improvement in both domestic demand and higher capital investment by companies, reflecting stronger confidence. Oh said: “The recent strengthening of the ringgit against major currencies has also boosted Malaysia’s purchasing power to import more.”
Economists said June external trade data provided indications of a moderating industrial output growth for June as well as the declining pace of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the second quarter.
Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said Malaysia was expected to register a high single-digit growth for the second quarter of this year. This compared with the 10.1% y-o-y GDP growth that the country registered for the first quarter. During the April-June period this year, the country’s total trade rose 4.4% y-o-y to RM290.82bil, compared with 32.6% y-o-y growth to RM278.51bil for the January-March quarter.
Products that contributed to exports growth in June were electrical and electronic (E&E) products valued at RM21.3bil (40.2% of total exports), palm oil at RM4.1bil (7.7%), chemicals and chemical products at RM3.4bil (6.3%), liquefied natural gas at RM3bil (5.7%) and crude petroleum at RM2.4bil (4.5%).
Singapore, China, the US, Japan and Hong Kong were the top five export destinations, accounting for 50.8% of Malaysia’s total exports in June. Asean accounted for RM12.97bil, or 24.6%, of Malaysia’s total exports, up by 7% from June 2009.
Malaysia’s major import products in June were E&E products valued at RM17bil (36.2% of total imports), chemicals and chemical products at RM4.4bil (9.3%), and machinery, appliances and parts at RM4bil (8.5%). The main import sources were China, Japan, Singapore, the US and Thailand, which collectively represented 54.3% share of the total.