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UOB Group’s Senior Economist Julia Goh and Economist Loke Siew Ting assessed the latest trade balance figures in Malaysia.

Key Quotes

“Exports rose 3.1% y/y in July (Jun: revised to +8.0%) which exceeded … our expectation (-1.2%). Imports fell 8.7% y/y (Jun: -5.6%). The trade surplus rose to MYR25.15bn (Jun: MYR20.85bn) marking another record high.”

“Key sectors that lifted overall exports were manufactured goods (+4.7% y/y) and agriculture (+30.4% y/y). This offset the decline in exports of mining goods (-30.2% y/y) mainly due to weakness in LNG exports. Key components that lifted overall exports were electrical and electronics, rubber products, palm oil-based products, optical and scientific equipment, woods products, and iron and steel.”

We continue to see signs that trade levels are improving though export growth could be uneven in the coming months due to a high base effect. The latest manufacturing Purchasing Manager Indices (PMIs) are also mixed following the initial rebound in May-Jun suggesting an uneven pace of recovery. We project exports to rise by 4% in 2021 (vs. projected -3.5% in 2020).”

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