Saturday, March 6, 2010

Jan 2010 Trade: Sustaining Momentum

Ignore the headlines. January 2009’s trade numbers were cover-your-eyes awful, so the y-o-y growth spike we’re seeing for this January’s numbers should come as no surprise – the base effect rears it’s ugly head again (log annual and monthly changes; seasonally adjusted):


Over 30% in percentage terms, and 31% (exports) and 27% (imports) in log terms. Note that month-on-month, seasonally adjusted or not, export growth actually fell. Nevertheless, exports are now back to their long term-trend, while imports have reached 2007 averages:


The numbers also beat my forecasts from last month, although still within the forecast confidence intervals. Looking at the breakdowns, it’s primarily crude oil and related products driving the moderation in growth. I don’t expect the February numbers to be as good, given the shut down due to Chinese New Year and the slowing of intermediate imports. February’s forecasts:

Seasonally adjusted model
Point forecast:RM51249.52m, Range forecast:RM57636.51m-44862.52m

Seasonal difference model
Point forecast:RM44717.01m, Range forecast:RM51009.54m-38424.47m

Both models are suggesting a pullback in the level of exports, although given that February 2009’s numbers were even worse than January’s, we’re still going to get some pretty spectacular growth numbers.

Technical Notes:

Trade data from MATRADE.

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