Malaysia's exports grew at a slower-than-expected pace in August, moderating from a blistering performance a month earlier, partly due to a decline in exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products.
Exports from the third-largest economy in Southeast Asia rose 21.5% in August from a year earlier, according to Malaysia's International Trade and Industry Ministry on Friday. A poll of eight economists by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 24.1% gain. In July, exports grew at a blistering pace of 30.9% on-year driven by a jump in shipments across all major export products.
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Electrical and electronic products exports, constituting 37.8% of total exports, increased 20.1% in August from a year earlier, marking the eight straight month where they recorded a double-digit growth.
Shipments of petroleum products and LNG surged 33.6% and 101.8%, respectively from a year earlier. Exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products however declined by 8.9% on-year in August.
The pace of growth in August marks the ninth straight month of double-digit growth in exports. But it ended the third straight month run where exports posted a stronger year-over-year growth than imports in Malaysia. On a month-on-month basis, exports in August 2017 were higher by 4.6%.
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 over two years.
Imports increased by 22.6% in August from a year earlier, driven by higher imports of intermediate, capital and consumption goods. The poll of economists had predicted a 21.0% increase. Imports rose 21.8% in July from a year earlier, on higher imports of intermediate and consumption goods.
The trade surplus increased to 9.87 billion ringgit (US$2.33 billion) from MYR8.0 billion in July.
Exports to China jumped 21.2 % in August from a year earlier, the tenth consecutive month of double-digit growth, due to higher uptake of petroleum products, manufactures of metal, chemicals and chemical products, electrical and electronics products and rubber products.
Exports to the U.S grew by 14.5 % from a year earlier in August, buoyed by higher exports of all products except for beverages and tobacco as well as jewelry, the statement said.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 06, 2017 00:14 ET (04:14 GMT)