Monday, April 5, 2010

Feb 2010 Trade: Better Than Expected

The Department of Statistics released a preliminary assessment of February’s trade data last Friday, which is another unexpectedly new move on their part. One can hope that this is a sign of better things to come, in terms of our statistical capacity and capabilities – for an emerging market, Malaysia’s stats record is pretty decent, but any improvement helps improve our knowledge and ability to track and monitor the economy. Matrade will issue a more complete report next week, per the usual schedule.

The data itself is a little schizophrenic. Although unadjusted exports fell 11.3% on the month, seasonally adjusted data shows a 2.7% improvement – you can see the effect that CNY had on volume. In any case, both unadjusted and adjusted series beat last month’s point forecasts, though still within the 2 standard error bands (log annual and monthly changes; seasonally adjusted):


The electronics sector continues to stagnate, with most of the growth on the margin being driven by other tradables such as commodities. Next month’s model forecasts show a jump back to over RM50 billion in both seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted series, though given the performance of the last few months, I fully expect actual realisation to stay in the upper range of the forecast interval:

Seasonally adjusted model


Point forecast:RM52,143m, Range forecast:RM58,648m-45,639m

Seasonal difference model


Point forecast:RM51,762m, Range forecast:RM59,029m-44,496m

Technical Notes:

Preliminary February 2010 External Trade Report from the Department of Statistics

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