Malaysia's 2017 trade growth at highest in 13 years, says minister

Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed announcing Malaysia's 2017 trade performance in Kuala Lumpur February 7, 2018. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed announcing Malaysia's 2017 trade performance in Kuala Lumpur February 7, 2018. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 — Malaysia’s trade recorded strong performance in 2017, growing at the highest rate in 13 years said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Malaysia’s total trade surged by 19.4 per cent to RM1.774 trillion, compared to RM1.486 trillion recorded the in the previous year.

Exports grew significantly by 18.9 per cent, the strongest growth since 2005 to reach a new high of RM935.39 billion.

Imports also recorded the highest value of RM838.14 billion, expanding by 19.9 per cent.

Trade surplus widened by 10.3 per cent to RM97.25 billion, the largest surplus registered since 2012. This was the 20th consecutive year of trade surplus since 1998.

Mustapa said during the announcement of Malaysia’s Trade Performance 2017 today.

“Asean absorbed 29.2 per cent of exports in 2017 and remained as a key trading partner for Malaysia, taking up 27.5 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade in 2017.

“Trade with Asean amounted to RM487.42 billion, an increase of 21 per cent,” he said.

Exports to Asean expanded by 18 per cent to RM272.79 billion, contributing 29.2 per cent to Malaysia’s total exports.

The increase was mainly led by manufactured goods, which grew by 18 per cent and accounted for 89 per cent of total exports to Asean.

Major contributors to the increase were electrical and electronics products, petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products, transport equipment, machinery, equipment and parts, optical and scientific equipment as well as iron and steel products.

Mustapa noted China remained as Malaysia’s largest trading partner for nine successive years.

“China continued to be Malaysia’s largest trading partner for nine consecutive years since 2009.

“In 2017, Malaysia’s trade with China increased by 20.6 per cent to RM290.65 billion,” he said.

Asked on the trade forecast for this year, Mustapa said the country is expecting a moderate growth of 5 per cent.  

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