Malaysia posts double-digit growth in August trade surplus of RM13b

Malaysia's exports in August fell 2.9 per cent to RM79.14 billion while imports slipped by 6.5 per cent to RM65.92 billion. — Reuters pic
Malaysia's exports in August fell 2.9 per cent to RM79.14 billion while imports slipped by 6.5 per cent to RM65.92 billion. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — Malaysia's trade surplus in August 2020 registered a double-digit growth of 19.7 per cent to RM13.23 billion compared with the same month in 2019, and exceeded RM10 billion for the seventh time this year, said the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti).

Exports for the month reviewed fell 2.9 per cent to RM79.14 billion while imports slipped by 6.5 per cent to RM65.92 billion, it said.

“Total trade decreased 4.6 per cent to RM145.06 billion compared with August last year.

“Lower trade was recorded particularly with Thailand, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Japan while higher trade was registered with the United States (US), China and Saudi Arabia,” Miti said in a statement today.

On a month-on-month (m-o-m) basis, it said total trade, exports and imports contracted by 9.3 per cent, 14.5 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively, with trade surplus dipping by 47.5 per cent.

For the first eight months of 2020, trade surplus rose by 2.9 per cent to RM102.98 billion compared with August 2019.

“Total trade was valued at RM1.138 trillion, a decline of 6.5 per cent mainly on lower trade with Thailand, Singapore, India and Japan.

“Higher trade however was registered with South Korea, the US, Bahrain and China. Exports during the period totalled RM620.64 billion, down 5.8 per cent, while imports contracted by 7.3 per cent to RM517.66 billion," it said.

The ministry said exports of manufactured goods in August 2020, which accounted for RM68.57 billion or 86.6 per cent of total exports, fell marginally by 0.1 per cent, year-on-year (y-o-y).

This was due mainly to lower exports of manufactures of metal and chemicals and chemical products, however, the contraction was cushioned by higher exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products and rubber products, it said.

Exports of agriculture goods (7.2 per cent share) was valued at RM5.71 billion, a decrease by 4.5 per cent y-o-y, mainly on lower exports of sawn timber and moulding as well as natural rubber, while exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products registered an increase.

Exports of mining goods (5.8 per cent share) amounted to RM4.55 billion, down 25.9 per cent y-o-y, mainly on lower exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

On trade performance with major markets, Miti said trade with Asean in August 2020, which contributed RM35.64 billion or 24.6 per cent to Malaysia’s total trade, dipped by 10.4 per cent compared to August last year.

“Exports amounted to RM21.09 billion, edged down by eight per cent due to lower exports of crude petroleum, manufactures of metal, chemicals and chemical products as well as machinery, equipment and parts. Growth in exports however was recorded for E&E products and petroleum products.

“Imports from Asean fell by 13.7 per cent to RM14.55 billion,” it said.

Exports to markets in Asean that recorded expansion included Singapore, which increased by RM90.4 million due to higher exports of E&E products, Myanmar (up by RM40.3 million on chemicals and chemical products) and Laos improved by RM0.7 million due to exports of textiles, apparels and footwear.

On a m-o-m basis, trade, exports and imports recorded a contraction of 13 per cent, 17.7 per cent and 5.3 per cent, respectively.

Trade with China in August 2020 increased by 4.3 per cent y-o-y to RM27.7 billion, which contributed 19.1 per cent to Malaysia’s total trade.

“Exports to China sustained a double-digit growth for three consecutive months, surging by 20.9 per cent to RM13.97 billion.

“This was boosted mainly by higher exports of E&E products, iron and steel products as well as other manufactures, primarily solid-state storage devices (SSD).

“However, imports from China was down by 8.5 per cent to RM13.73 billion,” Miti said.

Compared with July 2020, the ministry said trade, exports and imports contracted by 5.9 per cent, 10.3 per cent and one per cent, respectively.

On trade with the US, it said in August 2020, trade grew by 8.2 per cent y-o-y to RM15.63 billion, representing 10.8 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade.

Exports to the US continued to expand for three consecutive months, recording a double-digit growth of 13.6 per cent to RM9.46 billion driven mainly by expansion in exports of manufactured goods.

“Higher demand for manufactured goods was seen especially for rubber products, wood products, optical and scientific equipment, machinery, equipment and parts as well as other manufactures (SSD).

“Imports from the US, Miti noted also expanded by 0.9 per cent to RM6.17 billion,” it said.

Compared to July 2020, trade, exports and imports shrank by 10.6 per cent, 15.3 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively, it noted.

As for the European Union (EU), total trade, which constituted 8.2 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade in August 2020, decreased by 9.1 per cent y-o-y to RM11.93 billion.

“Exports totalled RM6.96 billion, a decline by 4.3 per cent, underpinned mainly by lower exports of E&E products as well as manufactures of metal.

“Increases in exports were registered for rubber products as well as palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products.

“Imports from the EU slid by 15 per cent to RM4.97 billion,” it said.

Among the top 10 EU markets which accounted for 90.7 per cent of Malaysia’s total exports to the region, exports to seven countries recorded growth, namely Germany, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.

On a m-o-m basis, trade and exports shrank by 4.5 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively, while imports increased by 4.1 per cent, Miti said.

Meanwhile, trade with Japan in the month reviewed, which constituted 6.4 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade, fell by 10.5 per cent y-o-y to RM9.23 billion.

Exports decreased by 13.8 per cent to RM4.31 billion following lower exports of LNG and manufactures of metal, while imports from Japan slipped by 7.2 per cent to RM4.92 billion.

“Growth in exports was recorded for crude petroleum, optical and scientific equipment, rubber products, as well as palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products,” it said.

On a m-o-m basis, trade and exports decreased by 6.7 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively, while imports increased by 4.7 per cent.

As for trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners, which accounted for 65.3 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade, MITI said it saw a decline of 5.5 per cent y-o-y to RM94.77 billion.

Total imports in August 2020 contracted by 6.5 per cent y-o-y to RM65.92 billion from RM70.46 billion in August 2019.

The three main categories of imports by end use, which accounted for 75.9 per cent of total imports, were intermediate goods valued at RM36.86 billion, capital goods worth RM6.81 billion, and consumption goods valued at RM6.39 billion. — Bernama

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