March 4, 2019 / 4:03 AM / 17 days ago

Malaysia's January export growth at 3.1 pct y/y, above forecast

    * Jan exports +3.1 pct y/y vs +1.4 pct in Reuters poll
    * Jan imports +1 pct y/y vs poll forecast +1.2 pct
    * Jan trade surplus 11.5 bln rgt vs poll forecast 9.2 bln rgt
    * Exports to China +9.1 pct y/y; to the U.S. +9.4 pct y/y

    KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 (Reuters) - Malaysia's exports rose better than
expected in January, but the pace of growth was slower than the previous month
as palm oil shipments fell, government data showed on Monday.
    Exports grew 3.1 percent in January from a year earlier, above the 1.4
percent rise forecast in a Reuters poll. In December, exports grew 4.8
percent.
    January's export growth was driven largely by higher shipments of
manufactured and mining goods, data from the International Trade and Industry
Ministry showed.
    Exports of mining goods rose 10.5 percent year-on-year in January, on higher
volumes and prices of liquefied natural gas, the data showed.
    Shipments of manufactured goods, which accounted for over 82.3 percent of
total exports, grew 2.9 percent.
    But exports of palm oil, a major export commodity for Malaysia, fell 16.6
percent year-on-year, the ministry said. 
    Imports rose 1 percent in January from a year earlier, unchanged from the
growth rate posted in December. 
    Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit.
    January's trade surplus came in at 11.5 billion ringgit ($2.82 billion),
compared with the 10.4 billion ringgit registered in the previous month.
    Exports to China, a major trading partner, rebounded in January, rising 9.1
percent year-on-year, after a 0.5 percent annual decline in December.
    Meanwhile, exports to the United States grew 9.4 percent, amid strong demand
for manufactured goods.  

    KEY DATA
    (Exports and imports in percent, trade in billions of ringgit)      
                Jan     Dec     Nov     Oct     Sept     Aug     July    June
   Exports      82.8    83.3    84.8    96.3    83.1     81.8    86.1    78.7
                                                                        
     y/y%       3.1     4.8     1.6     17.7     6.7     -0.3    9.4     7.6
   Imports      73.9    72.8    77.2    80.1    67.8     80.2    77.8    72.6
                                                                        
     y/y%       1.0     1.0     5.0     11.4    -2.7     11.2    10.3    14.9
   Balance      11.5    10.4    7.6     16.3    15.3     1.6     8.3     6.0
                                                                        
 
    MAIN EXPORTS
                         Jan 2019      % of      % change  
                                                     
                         (bln rgt)    total    vs year ago 
                                                     
 Electrical &              34.3        40.1        8.2
 Electronic Products                           
 Chemicals and              5.2        6.1         16.7
 chemicals products                            
                                               
 Liquefied natural gas      5.2        6.0         37.5
                                               
 Petroleum products         4.6        5.4        -24.1
 Palm oil & Palm-based      3.7        4.3        -19.5
 agricultural products                         
 Machinery                  3.3        3.8         -1.5
 Manufactures of metal      3.2        3.7         -0.9
                                               
 Optical and                3.1        3.6         7.1
 scientific equipment                          
 Crude petroleum            2.4        2.9         -1.1
 Rubber products            2.0        2.3         -8.1
    
  EXPORT MARKETS                    
                   Jan 2019       % of      % change       
                  (bln rgt)      total       vs year ago    
                                                    
 China               11.0         12.9            9.1
 Singapore           12.2         14.2            5.4
 USA                 8.0           9.3            9.4
 Japan               6.7           7.8            -5.0
 Hong Kong           6.5           7.6            -7.3
 ($1 = 4.0750 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
  
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