Malaysia’s exports rebound in September, trade surplus swells

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Bloomberg pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia posted its largest trade surplus in a decade in September, as exports rebounded from a drop in the previous month while imports fell, government data showed on Monday.

September’s exports rose 6.7% from a year earlier, driven by demand for manufactured and mining goods, beating the 6.5% rise forecast in a Reuters poll.

In August, exports had fallen 0.3% year-on-year, the first drop in six months. Shipments of manufactured goods, which account for nearly 85% of Malaysia’s total exports, rose 7.9% from a year earlier in September, the International Trade and Industry Ministry said in a statement.

Exports of mining goods also rose 7.9%, due to higher volumes and prices of crude oil and liquefied natural gas, the ministry’s data showed.

Exports of agricultural goods, however, declined 10.7%, hit by falling prices of palm oil and palm-oil based products. Imports in September fell 2.7% year-on-year, sharply down from the 11.2% expansion seen in August, with declines posted in all three categories – intermediate, capital and consumption goods.

The trade surplus in September jumped to RM15.3 billion, the biggest trade surplus recorded since October 2008, from RM1.6 billion in August, the ministry said.

Exports to China, a major trading partner, declined marginally by 0.6% year-on-year in September, amid lower shipments of electrical and electronic goods, palm oil and rubber products.