Feb exports expand 12.3pc [Business Times (Malaysia)]
(Business Times (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) KUALA LUMPUR: EXPORTS grew at a slightly faster pace than market expectations in February, placing Malaysia in the group of Asian economies where exports are now on a rebound.
This pushes Malaysia's total trade for February 11 per cent higher year-on-year to RM107.39 billion.
The International Trade and Industry Ministry said exports expanded by 12.3 per cent in February while imports increased by 9.5 per cent from the same period last year. Trade surplus also increased by 27.2 per cent.
Exports of manufactured goods, which made up 66.4 per cent of total exports, was mainly for electrical and electronics (E&E) products, especially electronic integrated circuits, apparatus for transmission or reception of voice, images and data as well as photo-sensitive semiconductor devices.
Mining goods also rose due mainly to higher exports of liquefied natural gas, while the increase in exports of agricultural goods was contributed by palm oil exports.
Exports to all major markets increased during the month, the ministry said.
Exports to Japan increased by 17.5 per cent, China (23.6 per cent), European Union (15.9 per cent) and the United States (8.4 per cent).
Dr Chua Hak Bin of Bank of America Merrill Lynch described Malaysia as one of the few Asian countries where exports are staging a convincing improvement.
"Export growth is holding at a double-digit pace. Our Global cycle indicator denotes a pick-up in global activities in March, particularly in the US."
Following a weather-induced slowdown in January-February, the US economy appears to be recovering.
He expects the euro area gross domestic product growth to continue to expand at a one to 1.5 per cent pace while China's growth will likely stabilise following the recently introduced growth-supportive measures.
CIMB Investment Bank said the reading has come in better than expected with exports of electronics and electrical products being strong amid weak commodity demands.
"We believe that a gradual improvement in global demand, a pick-up in electronics exports and steady commodity prices will aid export growth of 2.6 per cent this year (from 2.4 per cent last year)," it said.
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