Malaysia External Trade - 21 November 2023

Smaller contraction in October amid easing base effect and strong exports to US and China

Exports experienced a smaller contraction (-4.4% YoY; Sep: -13.8%), surpassing expectations (KIBB: -9.3%; consensus: -5.0%) as the impact of the high base effect diminished

  • MoM (1.5%; Sep: 8.1%): expanded for the second consecutive month but at a slower pace.

Export growth was supported by an improvement in shipments to major trading partners and a rebound in the agriculture sector

  • By destination: supported by a rebound in exports to the US (4.0%; Sep: -9.3%) contributing 0.4 ppts (Sep: -1.1 ppts) to overall export growth. Moreover, there was a lesser contraction among major trade partners, led by CN (7.0%; Sep: -17.3%), followed by SG (-8.2%; Sep: -12.0%) and JP (-23.4%; Sep: -25.5%). Notably, the export share to CN of the total exports expanded (13.6%; Sep: 13.4%), reaching a three-month high.
  • By sector: growth in agriculture exports rebounded into positive territory (3.3%; Sep: -23.1%) for the first time in 13 months, thereby supporting overall growth. This was also supported by a lower contraction in manufacturing (3.5%; Sep: -11.9%) and mining (-21.9%; Sep: -28.5%) sectors.
  • By product: largely weighed down by the continued weakness in commodity-related exports, particularly LNG (34.9%; Sep: -37.8%), petroleum products (-23.7%; Sep: -37.8%), crude petroleum (-37.8%; Sep: -13.9%) and palm oil-based manufactured products (-15.1%; Sep: -20.4%). Meanwhile, the export of E&E, the largest export product accounting for 47.7% of total exports, contracted at a slower rate (-2.3%; Sep: -5.6%) over the past three months.