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MIDF Amanah Investment Bank upgrades Malaysia's 2022 export, import growth forecast

19/05/2022 07:57 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 (Bernama) -- MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd has upgraded Malaysia’s exports and imports growth forecast for 2022 to 16.9 per cent and 19.2 per cent, respectively, taking into account the robust trade performance from January to April 2022 and sustained growth going forward.

In a research note today, the investment bank said Malaysia’s external trade performance has been more resilient compared to its earlier expectations with exports expanding faster in the recent month compared with major economies like China, the United States (US) and European Union (EU).

It said in general, it expected Malaysia would stand to benefit from continued growth in global demand, particularly for electrical and electronic (E&E) and commodities such as palm oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and petroleum.

“On the other hand, we foresee imports to grow further in the coming months as the momentum of growth for the domestic economy will remain positive amid further reopening of the economy and relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and standard of procedures (SOPs).

“We remained cautious that the ongoing war in Ukraine and the lockdown in China will probably result in a weaker outlook for global demand going into second-quarter 2022 (Q2 2022),” it said.

On the April trade performance, the investment bank said Malaysia’s total trade, which rose by 21.3 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM231.4 billion for the month under review, was slightly better than expected as imports growth was higher than estimated.

However, export growth moderated as expected to 20.7 per cent y-o-y compared to 25.3 per cent y-o-y in March 2022.

“While we anticipated the lockdown in China would affect Malaysia’s trade performance, the moderation in April exports was, however, mainly underpinned by slower export growth to regional ASEAN countries.

It said exports to regional ASEAN countries moderated to 14.2 per cent y-o-y from 37.6 per cent y-o-y in March 2022, especially to Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

In contrast, it said the performance of exports to other destinations such as China, the US and EU surprisingly picked up in April this year.

It said Malaysia’s exports to China was driven by increased shipments of manufacturing goods mainly E&E and palm oil-based products and mining goods such as metalliferous ores and metal scrap as well as LNG while stronger exports to the US and EU was largely driven by demand for E&E products.

“Exports has been growing at double-digit pace from August 2021 with the increase in April 2022 continued to be driven by strong demand for E&E products and other commodities such as palm oil and palm oil products as well as LNG and crude petroleum,” it said.

It said imports had also moderated in April 2022 at 22 per cent from 29.9 per cent in March but growing at double-digit for the past 15 months as the reopening of the economy, relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and stronger domestic demand supported higher imports of foreign goods.

The investment bank said based on the latest available data, the sustained growth in Malaysia’s external performance in the first three months of this year was also supported by the continued rise in trade volume.

It said in Q1 2022, export volume expanded by 4.3 per cent y-o-y from 10.9 per cent y-o-y in Q4 2021 while the volume of imports grew stronger at 16.1 per cent y-o-y from 19.9 per cent y-o-y in Q4 2021.

“The value of exports and imports increased faster at 23.4 per cent y-o-y and 25.2 per cent y-o-y, respectively, in Q1 2022.

“This explains a larger portion of the growth in Malaysia’s foreign trade was attributable to higher exports and imports prices,” it said.


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