Malaysia's August Export Growth Likely Softened After Blistering July

By Yantoultra Ngui Features Dow Jones Newswires

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Malaysia's export growth likely softened in August following a blistering performance a month earlier.

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Nonetheless, the country's trade performance will continue to improve moderately, supported by strong global demand and greater output, according to economists.

Exports in August likely rose 24.1% compared with the same period a year ago, according to the median forecast from a poll of eight economists. This is slower than the faster-than-expected growth of 30.9% in July that was driven by a jump in shipments across all major export products. June's export grew at a slower-than-expected pace of 10.0% after hitting a record of 32.5% in May.

"High frequencies indicators from the advanced economies have been supportive to Malaysia's external demand," Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid, chief economist at Kuala Lumpur-based Bank Islam Malaysia, said.

Growing global semiconductor sales would underpin Malaysia's electrical and eletronics export growth while improvement in commodity prices would help the sectors outside the electrical and electronic sectors, he added.

"All in all, Malaysian economy should continue to do well in 2017, providing strong foundation for the year 2018," Mohd Afzanizam said.

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Exports are an important driver of the Malaysian economy. Strong exports of manufactured goods and commodities helped Malaysia's economy expand 5.8% in the second quarter, its fastest pace in more than two years.

Malaysia's government is expected to revise its 2017 economic growth forecast up, from 4.3% to 4.8% currently, in its 2018 national budget to be presented to parliament on Oct. 27.

Imports in August likely climbed 21.0% from a year earlier, according to the poll. Imports rose 21.8% in July from a year earlier, driven by higher imports of intermediate and consumption goods.

The trade surplus is expected to expand to 9.5 billion ringgit ($2.24 billion) from MYR8.0 billion in July, according to the poll.

The official August trade data is due Friday at 0400 GMT.

-- Write to Yantoultra Ngui at yantoultra.ngui@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 03, 2017 23:33 ET (03:33 GMT)