Malaysia Exports Growth Slowed in November but Beat Forecast -- Update

By Saurabh Chaturvedi Features Dow Jones Newswires

Malaysia's exports growth eased in November but still beat expectations, helped by higher shipments of electrical and electronics products.

Continue Reading Below

Exports from Southeast Asia's third-largest economy rose 14.4% from a year earlier, according to data released by the country's International Trade and Industry Ministry on Friday. A Wall Street Journal poll of economists had forecast a 13.8% gain. In October, exports grew 18.9% from a year earlier.

Exports in November rose 1.5% from a month earlier.

Electrical and electronic products, which accounted for 38% of Malaysia's total exports, increased 21% in from a year ago. Shipments of chemicals and chemical products, comprising 7.5% of total exports, increased 20.2%, while exports of petroleum products rose 1.2%, according to a ministry statement.

Exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products decreased by 5.2%.

The data suggests that the final quarter of last year could continue a robust growth streak in Malaysia. Strong exports helped the country post faster-than-expected economic expansion in the first three quarters of 2017, which led to the government's revising of its full-year gross domestic product growth forecast in October. It raised the forecast to 5.2%-5.7% from a previous estimate of 4.3%-4.8%.

Continue Reading Below

Against a backdrop of strengthening economic growth, the country's central bank appeared to tilt in a hawkish direction in its November policy announcement, signaling the possibility of higher interest rates in 2018.

Bank Negara Malaysia, which left the main benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.00% in November, is scheduled to hold its next policy meeting this month.

Exports to China, one of the biggest destinations for shipments from Malaysia, expanded 3.3% from a year earlier in November while shipments to the U.S. grew 13.4%.

Imports rose 15.2%, outpacing the 13.4% increase forecast by economists, as demand for intermediate, capital and consumption goods strengthened. In October, imports rose 20.9%.

The trade surplus stood at 9.95 billion ringgit ($2.5 billion) in November, down from MYR10.56 billion in October.

Write to Saurabh Chaturvedi at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 04, 2018 23:27 ET (04:27 GMT)