By Dow Jones Business News, October 04, 2013, 12:15:00 AM EDT
By Jason Ng
KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia's exports in August surged 12.4% from a year earlier, beating market expectations by a wide
margin thanks to higher demand from its Southeast Asian neighbors and the European Union for petroleum products and
The strong growth in Malaysia's exports adds to latest evidence of a recovery in European demand. Poor exports in the
first six months of the year has weighed on the trade-reliant country's economic growth. At the same time, resilient
domestic demand has supported strong imports, raising concerns of a narrowing trade surplus at a time of rising aversion
to emerging markets.
Exports totaled 62.9 billion Malaysian ringgit ($19.69 billion) in August compared with MYR55.97 billion in the same
month a year earlier, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said in a statement Friday.
The median forecast of 11 economists polled by The Wall Street Journal was for a rise of 5.0%. Exports rose 4.5% on
year in July, which ended five-straight months of declines. In January-August, exports were worth MYR461.44 billion,
down 0.8% on year.
Demand from Western markets has been hurt by the lingering euro-zone sovereign debt crisis. After several months of
muted shipments, August exports to the E.U. jumped 20.4% on year, mainly driven by sales of electronic integrated
circuits and semiconductor devices. Exports to the U.S. however, fell 4.2% due to lower demand for palm oil and
Imports gained 14.1% in August from a year earlier to MYR55.79 billion. This compares to the 12% median expansion
expected in the same survey. Imports of intermediate and capital goods rose 3.1% and 3.2% respectively during the month.
Intermediate goods--such as electronic circuits and motor-vehicle parts--are mainly semi-finished items used in the
final assembly of computers and cars.
The August trade surplus expanded to MYR7.11 billion from July's MYR2.86 billion, the ministry said.
Write to Jason Ng at firstname.lastname@example.org
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