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NEWS UPDATES 7 December 2009

Malaysia eyes bigger share of intra-regional trade

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Malaysia's exports will expand further on intra-regional trade, given the suprisingly good trade performance supported by intra-regional demand, national news agency Bernama quoted OSK Research Sdn Bhd as saying.

OSK, however, said the demand from developed countries should remain weak in the upcoming months. In a research note Monday, OSK said improving global consumer and business sentiment will drive stock replenishment activities going forward.

It said a gradual increase in commodity prices on the back of a recovering global economy has put Malaysia's export sector at an advantage as a large chunk of the country's shipments comprise commodity and commodity-related products.

Furthermore, the intra-regional trade agreements with bilateral currency swaps signed by the government this year will likely help sustain shipments to countries such as China and Hong Kong next year, it said.

Kenanga Research, in a separate note, said Malaysia's exports would generally be supported by stronger global economic growth in 2010 albeit gradually.

"Though export revenue may receive a boost from higher global energy prices, we don't expect the growth rate to return prior to the 2008-2009 global financial and economic crises, given that demand is expected to recover only gradually in Malaysia's main export markets," it said.

Nonetheless, stockbuilding is expected to gain momentum next year after three consecutive years of destocking (from 2007 to 2009).

"Hence, we expect the additional stocks will contribute positively towards headline Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth next year," it said.

Given the uncertainties and uneven growth recovery trend in most major economies, Kenanga Research expects Malaysia's GDP to grow by only three to four per cent next year.


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