KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia The current account surplus widened to RM12.5 billion in the third quarter of 2017 (3Q 2017) compared to RM9.6 billion in the the preceding quarter, said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).(BNM is Malaysia’s central bank)

In a statement today, BNM said, the surplus accounted for 3.7 per cent of the gross national income (GNI) compared with three per cent in second quarter of 2017 (2Q 2017).

BNM said this was primarily due to a larger goods surplus which had offset the higher deficits in the income accounts and sustained deficit in the services account.

The goods surplus widened to RM31.7 billion in 3Q 2017 compared with RM27 billion in 2Q 2017 as exports grew at a faster pace, while intermediate and capital imports moderated from 2Q 2017, it said.

BNM said the deficit in the services account was broadly sustained at RM4.9 billion in 3Q 2017 compared with RM5.0 billion in 2Q 2017, while the travel account registered a bigger surplus at RM9.2 billion, supported by higher tourist arrivals and spending amid major sporting events held during the quarter.

This improvement was partly offset by a larger deficit in construction services which was at RM3.3 billion in 3Q 2017, reflecting the mainly lower receipts due to the near completion of construction projects in Qatar and India, it said.

Meanwhile, it said, the higher deficit in the primary income account, which stood at RM8.6 billion in 3Q compared with RM8.2 billion in 2Q 2017, was largely attributable to lower income generated by Malaysian firms investing abroad, which stood at RM11.4 billion in 3Q 2017 compared with RM12.4 billion in 2Q 2017.

The income earned by foreign investors in Malaysia for 3Q 2017 remained sizeable at RM18.9 billion, and the deficit in the secondary income account was larger at RM5.7 billion compared with RM4.2 billion recorded in 2Q 2017, it said.

It said outward remittances for 3Q 2017 amounted to RM9.5 billion, driven by foreign worker remittances, while inward remittances were lower at RM3.8 billion compared with RM4.4 billion recorded in 2Q 2017.