KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 ― Malaysia's trade surplus rose 21.4 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM15.42 billion in May 2023, registering the 37th consecutive month of double-digit growth since May of 2020.

The Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (Miti) said “exports showed signs of recovery” in May 2023, posting a marginal contraction of 0.7 per cent y-o-y to RM119.61 billion compared to double-digit decline in the previous month. This was supported by higher exports in petroleum products, electrical and electronic (E&E) products, machinery, equipment and parts, as well as processed food.

“Exports to major trading partners, notably China, the United States (US) and Japan (also) recorded expansion,” it said in a statement today.


However, Miti said imports decreased 3.3 per cent y-oy to RM104.19 billion in May 2023, bringing the total trade to slip 2 per cent y-o-y to RM223.8 billion in that month, in tandem with slower global demand and lower commodity prices.

According to Miti, Malaysia's trade performance in May 2023 was similar to regional peers such as China, Taiwan and South Korea, which also recorded negative trade growth for the same month.

For the first five months of 2023, the Ministry said total trade fell 1.7 per cent y-o-y to RM1.066 trillion, with exports down 2.3 per cent to RM579.39 billion and imports declining 1 per cent y-o-y to RM486.96 billion.


Trade surplus sliped 8.7 per cent y-o-y to RM92.43 billion.

On trade with Asean countries, Miti said the regional trade, which represented 28.4 per cent or RM63.61 billion of Malaysia's total trade, slid 5 per cent y-o-y, with exports edging down 1.6 per cent y-o-y to RM36.38 billion in May 2023 on lower demand of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, iron and steel products and petroleum products.

Imports declined 9.1 per cent y-o-y to RM27.24 billion.

From January to May 2023, trade with Asean fell 1.2 per cent y-o-y to RM293.08 billion, with exports rising 1 per cent y-o-y to RM172.99 billion, backed by higher exports of petroleum products and E&E products. Imports shrank 4.2 per cent y-o-y to RM120.08 billion.

On trade with China, which contributed 16.6 per cent, or RM37.07 billion to Malaysia’s total trade, Miti said it declined marginally by 0.2 per cent y-o-y in May 2023, with exports improving 1.5 per cent to RM15.49 billion. This was mainly driven by higher demand of metalliferous ores and metal scrap, liquefied natural gas (LNG), as well as chemicals and chemical products.

Imports from China declined 1.4 per cent to RM21.58 billion in May.

For the first five months of the year, trade with China fell 4.3 per cent y-o-y to RM179.76 billion, with exports contracting 8.9 per cent y-o-y to RM75.31 billion, while imports eased 0.6 per cent to RM104.45 billion.

Miti said trade with the United States (US), which constituted 9.3 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade, gained 4.4 per cent y-o-y to RM20.9 billion in May 2023, with exports rebounding 14.9 per cent to RM13.77 billion, mainly driven by robust exports of E&E products.

Imports from the US, however, declined 11.3 per cent y-o-y to RM7.13 billion.

From January to May 2023, trade with the US slid 0.5 per cent y-oy to RM98.35 billion, with exports improving 2.5 per cent y-o-y to RM63.98 billion, boosted by increased shipments of E&E products and petroleum products. Imports from the US shrank 5.6 per cent to RM34.37 billion in May 2023. ― Bernama