PETALING JAYA: AmBank Research has forecast Malaysia’s third quarter (3Q) gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 12% to 14% year-on-year (y-o-y), boosted by the strong trade number for September and over the 3Q.
The economy grew by 8.9% y-o-y in the 2Q and 5% y-o-y in 1Q.
Trade growth is set to slow on weaker demand in the months ahead but there are pockets of opportunity for sustained strong growth, according to the research house.AmBank said liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports could help cushion any slowdown of exports with higher shipments to major energy consuming markets like Japan, South Korea and China heading into the winter months.
The country’s exports for September grew 31.4% y-o-y to RM144.3bil, driven by external demand for electrical and electronics (E&E) products, LNG and petroleum products and crude palm oil, among other products.Import growth for the month moderated to 33% y-o-y to RM112.6bil which enabled the country to post a record RM31.7bil trade surplus for the month.
CGS-CIMB Research noted that the E&E export numbers for September had defied downward global trends as shipments continued to outperform global sales.
According to the Statistics Department, Malaysian exports of E&E products to China grew 36.5% y-o-y, in contrast with the moderation in shipment by regional peers.
“We suspect that part of the strength could be due to attractive cost given the ringgit’s weaker performance,” the research house stated in a report yesterday.
Both parties said Malaysia’s trade data was likely to show a slowing growth trend going into 4Q22, with CGS-CIMB stating E&E exports would start to come down amid normalised global demand for such products.
“China, in particular, has the largest market share in semiconductors at 31.5% and is likely to lead the slow growth onwards, amid its own domestic growth issues as well as being affected by US trade restrictions,” it pointed out.
AmBank said E&E demand could likely fall as some electronic products have been launched into the market and technology companies have slowed down their orders.
CGS-CIMB also said export prospects for Malaysian palm oil would remain weak after Indonesia extended its export duty exemption for the product until year-end to help clear huge stock levels its industry has built up.
The signs of slower growth are already present as September exports of E&E products were softer on a month-on-month basis, according to data.
Both research houses stated local and global data such as the weaker Purchasing Managers Index numbers in September and October point towards a global economic slowdown heading into 2023, due partly to tighter financial conditions.
“We expect Malaysia’s exports to register a full-year growth of 24% to 25%, with slower growth to be seen sometime later in 4Q22, affected by a bleaker global economic outlook,” AmBank said in its report.