Agriculture export may increase 23.8%

Palm oil exports rebounded sharply by 18.8% to RM30.6b in January to August 2017

By IZZAT RATNA

Export earnings from agriculture goods are expected to see a 23.8% jump to RM87.2 billion for this year against 4.7%, or RM70.4 billion in 2016, an increase that could be attributed to higher shipment of palm oil and natural rubber.

According to the Economic Report 2017/18, palm oil exports rebounded sharply by 18.8% to RM30.6 billion in January to August 2017, compared to RM25.8 billion recorded in the same period last year, following higher average unit value (AUV), which grew 20.9% to RM3,118 per tonne.

Shipments of natural rubber, in the meantime, rebounded 56.3% to RM3.5 billion (January -August 2016: -20.1% of RM2.2 billion) on account of higher AUV (51.7%) and volume (3.1%).

The improvement is supported by higher demand from China, Germany, Iran and the US, which provided further impetus to growth in export receipts of natural rubber.

During the first eight months of 2017, receipts from agriculture products rose significantly by 18.5% to RM52.1 billion against 1.6%; RM43.9 billion in the first eight months of 2016.

Subsequently, receipts from mining goods are expected to surge 23.4% to RM80.3 billion in 2017 (2016: -18.9%; RM65.1 billion), supported by improved prices of crude petroleum and higher demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Higher earnings were recorded for crude petroleum, with growth of 33.2% to RM18.2 billion (January- August 2016: -16.1%; RM13.7 billion) — attributed to higher AUV, which turned around sharply by 33.5% (January-August 2016; -21.6%).

Earnings from LNG rose by 34.6% to RM26.9 billion (January-August 2016: -30.9%; RM20 billion) on account of higher AUV and volume, which increased 21.7% and 10.6% respectively.

Main export markets for LNG were China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan.

During the first eight months of 2017, exports of mining goods rebounded strongly by 32.7% to RM53.1 billion (January-August 2016: -21.9%; RM40.1 billion).

Meanwhile, gross imports are also expected to grow 17.8% for this year, driven by continuous demand for business expansion and development of infrastructure projects.

From January to August 2017, imports accelerated 23% to RM551.1 billion (January-August 2016: 0.9%; RM448.2 billion).

The growth was mainly attributable by intermediate and capital goods, which bodes well for manufacturing and export activities.

Imports of intermediate goods, comprising 58.4% of total gross imports, rebounded 25.6% to RM321.9 billion (January-August 2016: 57.2%; -2.4%; RM256.4 billion), in line with continued expansion in domestic economic activity — supported by higher imports of parts and accessories (24%), industrial supplies (19.4%), as well as fuel and lubricants (76.2%). Imports of capital goods surged 15.3% to RM74.9 billion (January-August 2016: 5.7%; RM64.9 billion), primarily boosted by a 16.3% increase in the non-transport equipment segment — mainly telephone sets and automated data processing machines.

Imports of consumption goods, constituting 8.5% of total gross imports, increased at a slower pace of 6.7% to RM46.6 billion (January- August 2016: 9.7%; 12.5%; RM43.7 billion), attributed to imports of consumer durables, which moderated 5.5% (January-August 2016: 15.6%), particularly medicaments and article of plastics.