Malaysia External Trade - 21 February 2024

Exports rebounded in January; trade surplus narrowed to 44-month low

Exports rebounded in January (8.7% YoY; Dec: -10.1%), far beating expectations (KIBB: 3.0%; consensus: 3.0%) marking positive growth for the first time since March 2023

  • MoM (3.4%; Dec: -2.8%): surprisingly rebounded, signalling a potential turnaround, as January typically experiences weaker performance on a MoM basis.

A relatively mixed performance among major trading partners, sectors and products

  • By destination: exports to major destinations exhibited mixed results. Notably, growth was boosted by a rebound in export to the US (11.9%; Dec: -5.3%), followed by the EU (6.4%; Dec: -25.5%) and Japan (2.8%; Dec: -4.7%). However, the growth was partially capped by sustained weakness in shipments to China (-7.4%; Dec: -1.5%) and Singapore (-2.6%; Dec: -25.0%).
  • By sector: attributable to the rebound in export of manufacturing (9.3%; Dec: -10.4%) and agriculture (17.5%; Dec: -25.9%) sectors, but was partially capped by subdued export of mining (-4.9%; Dec: 9.0%) sector.
  • By product: contributed by higher exports of petroleum products (24.2%; Dec: -22.2%), reaching a 10-month high. Nevertheless, the momentum was partially capped by the persistent weakness in export of electrical and electronics (E&E) product (-6.5%; Dec: -12.1%).