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