KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — Malaysia’s total trade in 2018 remained resilient, expanding 5.9 per cent to RM1.876 trillion from RM1.771 trillion in 2017, due to stronger-than-expected export growth during the year under review.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking said despite uncertainties in the global environment, exports rose 6.7 per cent year-on-year to reach RM998.01 billion while imports increased 4.9 per cent to RM877.74 billion.
“Malaysia’s trade surplus widened 22.1 per cent to RM120.27 billion, registering the fastest rate in 10 years and the largest trade surplus since 2012. This was the 21st consecutive year of trade surplus since 1998,” he said when presenting Malaysia’s 2018 trade performance here today.
Darell said Asean remained an important and strategic trading partner for Malaysia, accounting for 27.1 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade in 2018, valued at RM509.2 billion.
Exports to Asean grew five per cent to RM285.3 billion, with major contributors to the increase being electrical and electronic (E&E) products, crude petroleum, manufactures of metal, as well as, chemicals and chemical products.
In 2018, he said Malaysia’s trade with China rose 8.1 per cent to RM313.81 billion with exports expanding 10.3 per cent to RM138.88 billion.
Trade with the European Union (EU) amounted to RM183.37 billion, a growth of 4.8 per cent from 2017. Malaysia’s exports to the EU was higher by 3.5 per cent at RM98.6 billion.
Trade with the United States, on the other hand, recorded a growth of 1.1 per cent to RM155.88 billion, with exports rose 2.3 per cent to RM90.73 billion, registering the highest value since 2008.
“The expansion was led mainly by manufactured goods which increased 3.1 per cent to RM87.4 billion and accounted for 96.3 per cent of Malaysia’s total exports to the country,” said Darell.
Malaysia’s trade with Japan totalled RM132.57 billion, lower by 4.8 per cent, due to a 8.6 per cent dip in exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and E&E products.
E&E products made up the biggest composition of Malaysia’s exports in 2018, accounting for 38.2 per cent while exports of E&E products rose 11 per cent for the year under review.
Exports of mining goods rose 7.1 per cent to RM87.62 billion and this sector’s share made up 8.8 per cent of total exports in 2018.
“Exports of crude petroleum increased 29.4 per cent to RM36.57 billion due to higher Average Unit Value (AUV) and volume. However, exports of LNG contracted 3.1 per cent to RM40.14 billion,” he said.
Meanwhile, exports of agriculture goods contracted 14.2 per cent to RM67.01 billion, accounting for 6.7 per cent of total exports in 2018.
Exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products declined 17.3 per cent to RM44.7 billion, mainly due to lower exports of palm oil on account of lower AUV in tandem with lower global prices despite higher export volume. — Bernama