Exports surged in March, breaching the RM80 billion mark in receipts for the first time.

KUALA LUMPUR: Exports surged in March, breaching the RM80 billion mark in receipts for the first time.

The International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) described it as a new milestone in terms of export performance for the country.

Exports grew by 24.1 per cent to RM82.63 billion, the highest monthly export value ever recorded.

This was the fourth consecutive month exports registered double-digit growth since Dec 2016.

Imports rose by 39.4 per cent to RM77.22 billion, while trade balance stood at RM5.41 billion, making it the 233rd consecutive month of trade surplus since Nov 1997.

On a month-to-month basis, total trade, exports and imports grew by 18.5 per cent, 15.1 per cent and 22.5 per cent, respectively.

"It was driven by increased exports in all major sectors – manufacturing, mining and agriculture goods. Double-digit export growth was registered for all these sectors," it said.

Electrical and electronic (E&E) products, valued at RM29.26 billion, increased by 21.2 per cent from March 2016; chemicals and chemical products increased by 20.6 per cent; and palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products increased by 22.9 per cent.

Total trade for the first quarter was valued at RM430.51 billion, which grew by 24.3 per cent.

Exports totalled RM224.7 billion, an increase of 21.4 per cent, while imports amounted to RM205.82 billion, up 27.7 per cent. A trade surplus of RM18.88 billion was recorded for the period.