February 7, 2018 / 8:02 AM / 17 days ago

UPDATE 1-Malaysia's December exports growth slows, below forecast

    * Dec exports +4.7 pct y/y vs Reuters poll +12.4 pct
    * Dec imports +7.9 pct y/y vs poll forecast +13.4 pct
    * Trade surplus 7.3 bln rgt vs poll forecast of 9.7 bln rgt

 (Adds details, table, bullets)
    KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Malaysia's exports rose at a much slower
annual pace for a second consecutive month in December, government data showed
on Wednesday, as commodity prices and shipment volumes fell.
    Exports expanded 4.7 percent in December from a year earlier, widely missing
the 12.4 percent growth forecast by a Reuters poll, and falling sharply from
November's 14.4 percent growth.
    Malaysia recorded double-digit growth in exports throughout 2017, except in
June and December. 
    December's export growth was driven by higher shipments of electrical and
electronic products, liquefied natural gas and crude oil, data from the
statistics department showed.
    Shipments of palm oil and palm oil-based products, however, fell 8.6 percent
from a year earlier, the data showed.
    Import growth was 7.9 percent in December, sharply down from the 15.2
percent expansion posted in November.
    Imports of capital goods rose, but those of intermediate goods and
consumption goods declined 0.7 and 2.6 percent respectively.
    Trade surplus in December narrowed to 7.3 billion ringgit ($1.87 billion)
from 10 billion ringgit in the previous month.
    Malaysia's total trade surged 19.4 percent to 1.8 trillion ringgit ($460.36
billion) in 2017, its best performance in 13 years, the International Trade and
Industry Ministry said in a statement.
    Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit. The currency was one of
Asia's best performers last year, strengthening about 12 percent.
    
    KEY DATA   
    (Exports and imports in percent, trade in billions of ringgit)      
                 Dec     Nov     Oct     Sept    Aug     July    June    May
   Exports      79.3     83.5    82.4    78.3    82.2    78.6    73.1    79.4
                                                                        
     y/y%        4.7     14.4    18.9    14.8    21.5    30.9     10     32.5
   Imports      72.1     73.6    71.9    69.7    72.4    70.6    63.2    73.9
                                                                        
     y/y%        7.9     15.2    20.9    15.2    22.6    21.8    3.7     30.4
   Balance       7.3     10.0    10.6    8.6     9.9     8.03    9.88    5.49
                                                                        
 
    MAIN EXPORTS
                          Dec 2017       % of      % change  
                                                       
                           (bln rgt)    total    vs year ago 
                                                       
 Electrical &               28.7         36.2        6.2
 Electronic Products                             
 Petroleum products          6.1         7.7         6.2
 Chemicals and               6.0         7.6         6.8
 chemicals products                              
                                                 
 Palm oil & Palm-based       4.0         5.1         -8.6
 products                                        
                                                 
 Manufactures of metal       3.4         4.3         17.0
 Liquefied natural gas       4.7         5.1         4.8
                                                 
 Machinery                   3.2         4.0         4.7
 Optical and                 2.8         3.6         5.5
 scientific equipment                            
 Rubber products             2.1         2.7         3.5
 Crude oil                   2.7         3.4         6.9
    
  EXPORT MARKETS                    
                   Dec 2017       % of      % change    
                                                  
                  (bln rgt)      total       vs year ago
                                                  
 China               11.5         14.5          12.8
 Singapore           10.6         13.3          -3.3
 USA                 7.0           8.8          -3.1
 Japan               6.4           8.1          5.8
 Thailand            4.0           5.1          -3.9
    
 ($1 = 3.9100 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Sunil Nair)
  
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