(File pix) Malaysia’s total trade in the first seven-months of 2019 dropped 1.4 per cent to RM1.06 trillion from RM1.069 trillion registered in the same period previously. Pix by NSTP/Osman Adnan

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s total trade in the first seven-months of 2019 dropped 1.4 per cent to RM1.06 trillion from RM1.069 trillion registered in the same period previously.

Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said the country’s exports for the period slipped marginally 0.4 per cent to RM569.46 billion from RM568.72 billion, while imports reduced 2.6 per cent to RM487.84 billion from RM499.91 billion.

Malaysia’s trade surplus, however, increased 15.9 per cent to RM81.62 billion from RM68.81 billion recorded in the same period a year ago.

For July, Malaysia’s exports increased 1.7 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to RM87.96 billion from RM86.12 billion. This was mainly contributed by higher exports to Taiwan, the United States (US), China and Singapore.

The country’s imports contracted 5.9 per cent YoY to RM73.69 billion from RM77.83 billion, while the total trade decreased 1.9 per cent to RM161.65 billion from RM163.95 billion recorded a year ago.

Malaysia’s exports of manufactured goods in July, which accounted for 86.1 per cent of total exports, grew 3.8 per cent to RM75.7 billion.

Miti said the expansion was contributed mainly by higher exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products, iron and steel products, processed food, machinery, equipment and parts as well as transport equipment.

Exports of mining goods (7.5 per cent share) was valued at RM6.6 billion, a decreased of 11.6 per cent on account of reduced exports of crude petroleum due to lower volume and average unit value (AUV).

Exports of agriculture goods (5.7 per cent share) totalled RM4.97 billion, reduced by 9.3 per cent due to lower exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, especially palm oil which recorded a decline of 14.2 per cent to RM2.59 billion following lower AUV.

Malaysia’s major exports in July included E&E products (RM36.04 billion); petroleum products (RM6.38 billion); chemicals and chemical products (RM4.88 billion); machinery, equipment and parts (RM3.74 billion); and manufactures of metal (RM3.59 billion).

From January to July 2019, exports of manufactured goods grew 0.8 per cent to RM479.66 billion driven by higher exports of E&E products, iron and steel products, chemicals and chemical products as well as processed food.

Exports of mining goods contracted 1.2 per cent to RM48.51 billion mainly due to lower exports of crude petroleum.

Exports of agriculture goods decreased 6.3 per cent to RM37.11 billion mainly as a result of lower exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products.

On a month-on-month (MoM) basis, total trade, exports and imports registered a double-digit growth of 14 per cent, 15.5 per cent and 12.3 per cent respectively.

Miti said Malaysia’s trade surplus surged 75.6 per cent YoY to RM14.27 billion, chalking up its 261st consecutive month of trade surplus since November 1997.

Malaysia’s final exports for 2018 breached RM1 trillion mark for the first time with a value of RM1.004 trillion, an increase of 7.3 per cent compared to 2017.

Imports grew 5.2 per cent YoY to RM879.8 billion, while total trade rose 6.3 per cent YoY to RM1.883 trillion.

Trade surplus also rose 25.7 per cent to RM123.78 billion during the year.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s trade with Asean in July 2019, which made up 26.4 per cent of the country’s total trade, decreased 3.7 per cent YoY to RM42.72 billion.

Exports to Asean increased 1.8 per cent to RM25.16 billion, supported by higher exports of E&E products, machinery, equipment and parts, iron and steel products as well as liquefied natural gas (LNG), while imports from Asean contracted 10.7 per cent to RM17.56 billion.

Malaysia’s exports to major markets in Asean recorded growth in Singapore with RM372.9 million due to higher exports of E&E products, Vietnam (RM191.5 million) backed by manufactures of metal and the Philippines at RM247.4 million mainly for petroleum products.

For July, Singapore was the highest Asean exports market for Malaysia valued at RM12.30 billion, followed by Thailand at RM4.85 billion, Vietnam at RM3.16 billion, Indonesia at RM2.57 billion, and the Philippines at RM1.70 billion.

Trade with China, which represented 17.6 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade or RM28.5 billion, increased marginally 0.2 per cent YoY with exports expanding 3.8 per cent to RM13.34 billion on higher exports of manufactures of metal, petroleum products and LNG.

However, imports from China declined 2.8 per cent to RM15.16 billion.

On a MoM basis, trade, exports and imports recorded double-digit growth of 13.8 per cent, 15.6 per cent and 11.2 per cent respectively.

From January to July 2019, trade with Asean contracted 2.7 per cent to RM282.05 billion, while exports expanded 0.9 per cent to RM164.52 billion, owing to higher exports of E&E products, iron and steel products, liquefied natural gas, machinery, equipment and parts as well as petroleum condensates and other petroleum oil.

However, imports slipped 7.3 per cent to RM117.53 billion for the period.

Meanwhile, total trade with the European Union (EU), which contributed 9.1 per cent to Malaysia’s total trade in July 2019, fell 6.2 per cent YoY to RM14.72 billion.

Malaysia’s exports to EU decreased 2.8 per cent to RM8.1 billion in July due to lower exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products as well as manufactures of metal.

Imports from the EU dropped 10 per cent to RM6.62 billion for the period.

The top four EU countries for Malaysia’s total exports are Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Spain.