Prakash Sakpal, economist at ING, notes that Malaysia’s export growth not only remained in positive territory for a second consecutive month in May, but it was also better than consensus.
“Reported in local currency (Malaysian ringgit, or MYR) terms exports grew by 2.5% year-on-year in May, surpassing the consensus median of 2.2% growth and up from 1.1% growth in April.”
“Electronics and electrical exports with a 38% weight in total exports, remained a key growth driver despite some slowdown in their rate of growth to 0.5% in May from 3.9% in April. This still represents a significant outperformance in the face of the ongoing electronics export weakness observed elsewhere in the region reflecting the global tech slump.”
“Imports also grew in May albeit at less than half the pace (1.4%) of the 3.2% consensus estimate. The trade surplus narrowed to MYR 9.1bn from MYR 10.9bn in April. This puts the year-to-date surplus at MYR 56.8 billion, which is MYR 2.3bn more than in the same period of 2018.”
“Based on this trade and also manufacturing data, we believe the second quarter has shaped up to deliver a better quarter for GDP growth than the first.”
“While we continue to believe that Malaysia’s GDP growth touched the cycle low at 4.5%YoY in 1Q19, we consider our 4.6% YoY growth forecast for 2Q at risk of more upside than downside surprise. We also believe that Malaysia’s central bank (Bank Negara Malaysia – BNM) will assess economic risks as fairly balanced between growth and inflation and leave the overnight policy rate unchanged at 3.0% at the meeting next week (9 July).”