Exports rise 6.7pc in Nov [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIA'S exports may have slowed in November but there are signs of firmer global demand, economists said.
Exports grew at a slower pace than expected during the month, but it did not stop Malaysia's total trade from strengthening to RM1.25 trillion from January to November 2013.
This was an increase of 3.7 per cent from RM1.2 trillion recorded in the same period in 2012, according to the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti).
Overall, exports rose 1.4 per cent in the 11 months, while imports expanded by 6.3 per cent.
Economists noted that the slower export pace in November was largely due to lower shipments of palm oil and crude petroleum.
There are, however, encouraging signs of greater demand for Malaysian products, namely electrical and electronic products (E&E), which rose by 14.5 per cent.
CIMB Investment Bank expects exporters to benefit from improving external demand this year as the global trade cycle appears to be gaining momentum.
Alliance Research said the continued growth in trade activities over the past two months will provide an additional boost to the overall gross domestic product growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2013.
It has forecast exports to grow at around three to four per cent in 2014, on the back of an expected recovery in external demand from major advanced economies as well as China.
Miti said exports grew 6.7 per cent in November, below market expectations. Imports also expanded at a slower pace by 6.4 per cent, although the trade surplus widened to RM9.7 billion.
Despite the poorer print in November, Dr Chua Hak Bin of Bank of America Merrill Lynch has maintained his view that Malaysia is starting to benefit from firmer global demand.
Techology and manufactured goods exports have picked up.
"We expect the export and manufacturing recovery to firm up in 2014," he said, adding that the pick-up in export-related sectors will likely offset the impact of fiscal consolidation.
Miti said exports of manufactured goods, which make up 68.3 per cent of the total, rose eight per cent from a year ago.
The increase in exports was contributed mainly by higher exports of E&E products, especially electronic integrated circuits, photosensitive semiconductor devices and television reception apparatus.
Exports of mining goods (21.5 per cent of total) rose by 12.6 per cent, while exports of agricultural goods declined by 7.8 per cent.
On the export markets, Miti said China recorded a double-digit growth of 31.1 per cent from a year ago while exports to the European Union also rose by 14.5 per cent and those to Japan increased by 5.6 per cent.
Although overall exports to the US dropped by 2.1 per cent, the E&E exports, however, increased by 0.5 per cent.
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