KUALA LUMPUR, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia's July exports hit a new high with an increase of 9.4 percent from a year earlier, thanks to higher exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products, chemicals and chemical products as well as manufactures of metal, official data showed Wednesday.
Exports in July totaled at 86.12 billion ringgit (20.67 billion U.S. dollars), according to data released by the Department of Statistics. On a month-on-month basis, exports grew 9.6 percent in July.
Shipments of electrical and electronics goods, which accounts for 84.6 percent of Malaysia's total exports, jumped 12 percent in July from a year earlier, while crude petroleum surged 90.1 percent.
China remained Malaysia's largest trading partner, accounted for 17.3 percent of total trade. In July, trade with the country expanded by 19.4 percent on year to 28.31 billion ringgit.
Exports to China remained strong and recorded the highest monthly export value of 12.92 billion ringgit, a 37.5 percent growth compared to the year before, Statistic Department said. This was driven by higher exports of E&E products, chemicals and chemical products, LNG, petroleum products and crude petroleum.
Imports from China were up 7.5 percent to 15.39 billion ringgit, the department said. On month-on-month basis, trade and exports were higher by 5.5 percent and 13 percent respectively, while imports contracted marginally by 0.01 percent.
In the seven months period, trade with China went up 8.9 percent to 177.49 billion ringgit against a year ago. Exports to China were stronger by 12.1 percent to 77.48 billion ringgit attributed to higher exports of E&E products, chemicals and chemical products, manufactures of metal as well as optical and scientific equipment.
Imports from China rose by 6.6 percent to 100.01 billion ringgit, the department said.
Total imports increased by 10.3 percent on year to 77.83 billion ringgit in July, boosted by intermediate, capital and consumption goods, said the department.
Trade surplus rebounded by 1.7 percent to 8.3 billion ringgit in July after a year-on-year decline of 41.1 percent in the preceding month, the statement read.
Despite exports hitting a record high in July, Nomura Research said that the modest rise in export growth to 9.4 percent year-on-year in July from 8.3 percent in second quarter was in line with its view that gross domestic product growth will remain under pressure in the second half.
The firm also expects private consumption is unlikely to be sustained as the sales and services tax was reinstated starting September.
"We expect significant government spending cuts to offset the loss in Goods and Services revenue."
"Our full-year 2018 GDP growth forecast of 4.7 percent implies a slowdown in the second half of the year to 4.5 percent y-o-y from 4.9 percent in the first half," the research house said in a note on Wednesday. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 4.15 Malaysian ringgit)