15 Mar 2024 | News & Feature

Trade: Narrowed by the festive seasons

  • The trade surplus narrowed to USD 0.87 Bn in February 2024, much lower than consensus, as exports surprised to the downside while imports was on the upside.
  • Exports suffered from low demand from China due to the Chinese New Year, which dampened industrial activities temporarily but is likely to recover along with a dose of stimulus.
  • Imports remain strong, especially for consumer goods. This was driven by the Election effect, continued rice imports, and anticipation of Ramadan.
  • The narrow surplus might be just a one-off due to the festive seasons and could recover in March, but we maintain our case for modest CA deficit which necessitates BI to stay quite conservative.