KUALA LUMPUR (March 5): Malaysia's export value in January 2019 of RM85.4 billion is the highest in the country's history, surpassing the previous record of RM82.8 billion achieved in January 2018, according to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) today.
The year-on-year (y-o-y) export growth of 3.1% in January — announced yesterday by the Statistics Department — has also defied market analysts' consensus, which had expected a 0.6% y-o-y drop instead, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in a statement.
Lim went on to point out that Malaysia's trade surplus of RM11.5 billion has also exceeded market estimates of RM9.0 billion, despite the unresolved trade war between China and the United States.
"The strong trade surplus is a good start for the year and lends credence to the expectation that Malaysia's current account will remain in surplus, and keeps the domestic economy resilient amid global uncertainty," Lim said.
As for the y-o-y import growth of 1.0%, it points to an expanding domestic economy, Lim said, refuting deflationary concerns raised by some quarters.
Lim went on to say that the healthy January 2019 domestic demand expansion further proves that the 0.7% y-o-y decline in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the same month was not caused by weakened demand.
"As clarified earlier, the January CPI decline was actively induced by the government's pro-consumer policy of stabilising petrol prices that immediately passes savings from falling prices directly to consumers while protecting them from high prices through the imposition of a petrol price ceiling, and replacing the GST (goods and services tax) with the SST (sales and services tax)," he added.