JF Apex Securities Berhad released a research report on Malaysia's export data.
PASSIVE GROWTH IN EXPORTS
Malaysian export in December 2015 stood at RM68.3 billion, having increased 1.4% year-on-year. In comparison, November's growth was at 6.3%.
The Malaysian's export figure in December was below JF Apex Securities' expectation at 6.2% and the market consensus of 4.9% respectively. The weaker than expected results was due to contraction in export of main products including Refined petroleum products, Liquefied natural gas (LNG), crude petroleum products and palm oil and palm-based products. Other main products such as timber and timber-based products also seen slower export growth in Dec, 15. On a monthly basis, exports rose slightly by 1.0%.
MODERATE READING IN IMPORTS
Moderate reading in imports in Dec, 15 of RM60.3 billion, rising 3.2% year-on-year while November was at a 9.1%.
"This result came below our expectation and market consensus of +6.1% and +4.1% respectively," said the research house.
Strong decline in import of capital goods was the main reason for the moderate growth. In comparison to the previous month, imports increased 5.1% due to positive growth in two of its main components.
As such, the country's trade surplus in Dec, 15 was RM8.0 billion, declined on yearly and monthly bases of 10.3% and 22.0% respectively.
E&E products continued uptrend while semiconductor industry in negative growth
The E&E products, which contributed 36.5% of total export, continued its positive growth of 6.4% y-o-y while declining 7.3% m-o-m.
According to Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), global semiconductor sales were 5.2% y-oy lower in Dec’15 while declining 4.4% m-o-m due to softening demand and strengthened US dollar.
Slower growth in imports on yearly basis
Total imports in Dec’15 recorded a moderate growth of 3.2% y-o-y mainly caused by contraction in its main component, capital goods which declined strongly by 15.2% y-o-y (vs Nov’15: +2.6%) due to the negative growth in transport equipment, industrial and capital goods.
Meanwhile, import of consumption goods increased +37.8% compared to +43.8% in Nov’15.
For Jan’16, we opine that export and import will continue to post moderate growth of 3.0% and 4.3% respectively following softer growth recorded in Dec’15, coupled with shrinking economy growth in our main trading partners especially China after its PMI data skidded to a three-year low point in January’16 and marked the sixth straight month in contraction territory.