‘Malaysia’s pos­i­tive growth streak in line with re­gional up­turn’

New Straits Times - - Business -

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian ex­ports are in an up­beat mode, in line with the cycli­cal up­turn in re­gional ex­ports, said UOB Bank.

Ja­pan ex­ports grew by 12 per cent in March, China (12.3 per cent), Sin­ga­pore (18.9 per cent), Thai­land (7.3 per cent), In­done­sia (23.6 per cent) and Viet­nam (14.3 per cent), while South Korea’s ex­ports grew 24.2 per cent last month.

Econ­o­mist Ju­lia Goh said note­wor­thy was China’s im­port de­mand, which ex­panded 20.3 per cent year-on-year in March and was ex­pected to track dou­bledigit growth in near term amid grow­ing de­mand for in­fra­struc­ture projects and a low base.

“Ris­ing tide of ex­ports and gains in new or­ders re­in­force our view that Malaysia’s econ­omy should ex­pand at least 4.5 per cent this year,” she said.

Malaysia’s ex­ports grew 24.1 per cent in March af­ter ris­ing 26.5 per cent in Fe­bru­ary, with the key sup­port from man­u­fac­tured items, min­ing and agri­cul­ture, said the In­ter­na­tional Trade and In­dus­try Min­istry on Fri­day.

Goh said the first quar­ter’s ex­ports were partly lifted by pos­i­tive ex­change reval­u­a­tion ef­fects from a weaker cur­rency as the av­er­age US dol­lar ver­sus ring­git fell 5.7 per cent to 4.45 in the first three months of the year com­pared with 4.19 in the same pe­riod a year ago.

“There is also more op­ti­mism with data show­ing re­cov­ery in ad­vanced economies as well as emerg­ing mar­kets as ev­i­dent from the pos­i­tive growth in Malaysia’s ex­ports to sev­eral key trad­ing part­ners.”

Com­mod­ity prices have lev­elled up, which are sup­port­ive of Malaysia’s trade and cur­rent ac­count sur­plus. The re­cov­ery path will con­tinue to be sup­ported by an im­prov­ing global out­look.

“Malaysia is part of a wider pro­duc­tion base in the re­gion which ben­e­fits from do­mes­tic-derived growth,” she added.

Al­liance Bank said the strong per­for­mance of elec­tri­cal and elec­tron­ics ex­ports and con­tin­ued re­bound in oil and gas ship­ment sus­tained dou­ble-digit ex­port growth for the fifth con­sec­u­tive month.

This has been the long­est pos­i­tive growth streak since Jan­uary last year.

“Cur­rently, pos­i­tive in­di­ca­tions aris­ing from im­prov­ing de­mand for Malaysian goods amid re­cov­ery in global trade may fur­ther en­hance ex­ports growth per­for­mance,” it said.

The In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, in its April World Eco­nomic Out­look, sees global trade ex­pand­ing by 3.8 per cent this year, up from 2.2 per cent last year. Rupa Damodaran

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