I’m not going to tire of saying this – the first few months of last year were so awful that all the numbers coming in this year look great by comparison (log annual and monthly changes; seasonally adjusted):
To be fair, part of the reason is that we are indeed seeing real growth, it’s just that it’s not as strong as the yearly growth numbers seem to imply.
A look at the actual levels should make that point clearer (RM millions):
The level of exports have shifted up, and the slope of the growth path has definitely improved, but the slow decline in export values in 2012 and early 2013 is helping to drive the percentage growth figures up this year.
A second (minor) factor is the relatively weaker Ringgit over the past year after GE13. This hasn’t so much improved competitiveness, but rather bolstered the income effect – for a given foreign exchange price, the Ringgit value of any exported good increases.
Bottom line is that we’re seeing a real and very welcome improvement in external demand. But there’s no particular reason to celebrate either.
April 2014 External Trade report from MATRADE