2013-03-01 16:42:35 - New Transportation research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research
BMI View: More Muted Growth In 2013, But Ports Still Ahead
Since our last quarterly report, and based on recent data releases, we have raised our estimate for Malaysian GDP growth in 2012, but we have simultaneously become marginally less optimistic about the forecast for this year, 2013. We now estimate growth of 4.2% in 2012 (was 3.8%) and forecast growth of 4.5% for 2013 (was 4.6%). In summary, domestic demand was stronger than expected last year, but looking forward we are still concerned about the impact of sluggish exports. After general elections in March we believe there are increasing risks of a further decline in exports value, which could become a greater drag on growth.
There is also evidence that the
rebound in household consumption and private sector investment may be too weak to pick up the slack in the economy. On the medium term - the next five years - we expect Malaysian economic growth to average 4.2% per annum. The real value of foreign trade will grow at an annual average of 3.8% per annum over the same period.
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We continue to expect the country's major ports (Port Klang and Port Tanjung Pelepas) to outperform GDP for a variety of reasons. These include: greater reliance on intra-Asian and local trade, which is holding up better than global long-haul trade routes; the impact of fairly aggressive capacity expansion programmes; and relative success in attracting and retaining the custom of major shipping lines.
Headline Industry Data
* The real value of Malaysia's total trade will rise by 3.7% in 2013, a very modest increase on the estimated 3.4% expansion experienced in 2012.
* Total cargo volume handled at Port Klang will rise by 5.0% to 211.4mn tonnes in 2013, while volume at the Port of Tanjung Pelepas will rise by a slightly lower 3.5% to 139.2mn tonnes.
* Box traffic at Port Klang is projected to rise 7.6% to 10.965mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), while at the Port of Tanjung Pelepas a gain of 5.6% to 8.2mn TEUs is expected.
Key Industry Trends
Work On Pengerang Oil Terminal Is ContinuingPlans to build a 1.3mn cubic metre oil and oil products terminal at Pengerang are moving forward. Initial dredging of the approaches has been concluded. Dialog Group, an oil and gas services supplier, has signed the first customers for the MYR1.9bn (US$630mn) terminal, which it is developing jointly with Royal Vopak and the Johor state government. The terminal is to have an initial capacity of 1.3mn cubic metres, and is intended to meet rising demand for oil storage in Asia. 'Our location is blessed with a 24-metre deep natural berth able to bring in very large crude carriers', said Law Say Huat, chief executive of the joint venture that will run the terminal.
Not A Good Year For The Pirates
Piracy and armed robbery attacks on vessels in Asia fell 20% year-on-year (y-o-y) between Q112 and Q312, reported Marine Information Centre. The biggest drop was in Category 1 (very significant) incidents. Two hijacks of tug boats took place in the period. Prompt action by vessel owners meant all crew were safely rescued. The areas most improved included Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. The reporting of piracy incidents in Bangladesh increased for the period y-o-y.
Key Risks to Outlook
We believe the main downside risk is the possibility of a 'mixed' election outcome in the polls due in March 2013. Analysts are saying this could be the closest-run election since 1957. Our reading of the situation is that the current administration has taken a series of electorally-motivated fiscal deficit-widening decisions in the run up to the elections. This pump-priming include a generous budget for 2013, with cash handouts for the poor and wage increases for public sector workers. To bring the deficit back under control some kind of fiscal tightening will be needed in the post-electoral period. The worry is that an evenly-balanced electoral outcome, with no party winning a large majority, will mean that the next administration will hold back from taking the necessarily unpopular corrective measures. Already the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) party has postponed plans to implement a nationwide goods and services tax (GST).
A second downside risk to watch is the still-present danger of a correction in equity and real estate prices. In recent years, the influx of foreign capital into speculative investments such as real estate and equities, have driven up prices of these assets to new historic highs. Valuations on the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) have become increasingly unrealistic by historical standards, and we caution that a sharp decline in equity prices could easily trigger a panic among foreign investors, potentially resulting in large and destabilising capital outflows. Any crisis of confidence of this type could hit investment plans in the ports and shipping sector, as well as reducing economic growth and trade levels which are key to freight demand.
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