Things are seriously picking up (log annual and monthly changes; seasonally adjusted):
In log terms, seasonally adjusted exports are up 13.9%, while imports rose 13.5%. The monthly growth figures aren’t quite so positive, but the fact that December would be the sixth straight month of expansion says something.
Just to underscore how unusual the trade numbers over the last six months have been (RM millions):
I’d consider this to be the first secular increase in exports in three years – if you’re into trends, it would go even further back, to 2007.
Another thing that’s a little different this month is that the E&E boom is slowing (log annual and monthly changes; seasonally adjusted):
On the month, E&E exports fell 8.0% in log terms, although the annual growth rate is still in double-digits. Exports still rose because non-E&E exports, particular of refined petroleum products, more than counterbalanced the shortfall.
On the import side, consumption imports stayed on track, intermediate goods imports dropped, while capital goods imports spiked (RM millions):
I haven’t bothered checking up on where the capital goods demand has come from, but given the “lumpy” nature of capital goods, I doubt it will be sustained.
Overall, we’re seeing a very rose picture for the last quarter of 2013, which I expect should be confirmed by the IPI numbers due later today.
December 2013 External Trade report from MATRADE