KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia recorded a trade surplus of RM12 billion in January 2020, 4.2 per cent higher compared to January 2019, the highest monthly trade surplus for the month since 2011 and 267th consecutive months of surplus.
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said exports totalled RM84.08 billion, a marginal decrease of 1.5 per cent compared to January 2019 while imports slipped by 2.4 per cent to RM72.08 billion.
Total trade amounted to RM156.17 billion, a contraction of 2.0 per cent from January 2019.
Lower trade was seen with China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Taiwan, while higher trade was recorded with the United States, Australia, South Korea and Indonesia.
On a month-on-month (mom) basis, total trade, exports, imports and trade surplus decreased by 2.6 per cent, 2.7 per cent, 2.4 per cent and 4.0 per cent, respectively.
MITI said in January 2020, exports of manufactured goods logged an expansion of 1.1 per cent to a total value of RM71 billion and accounted for 84.4 per cent share of Malaysia’s total exports.
The main contributors to the increase in exports were petroleum products which increased by 45.8 per cent, iron and steel products (43 per cent), rubber products (10.7 per cent), followed by machinery, equipment and parts (5.7 per cent).
Exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products however recorded a marginal increase of 0.5 per cent.
Trade with Asean in January 2020 which constituted 25.6 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade declined by 4.6 per cent to RM40.03 billion compared to January 2019.
Exports to Asean decreased by 4.1 per cent to RM23.95 billion, owing mainly to lower exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products, crude petroleum, liquefied natural gas (LNG) as well as chemicals and chemical products.
Higher exports were seen for petroleum products, iron and steel products, transport equipment as well as textiles, apparels and footwear, MITI said.
In January 2020, trade with China which absorbed 16.9 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade contracted by 8.7 per cent year-on-year (yoy) to RM26.4 billion.
Exports declined by 5.7 per cent to RM10.4 billion owing to lower exports of LNG, metalliferous ores and metal scrap, chemicals and chemical products as well as E&E products.
MITI said however, exports of manufactured goods increased by 5.4 per cent particularly for iron and steel products, manufactures of metal as well as optical and scientific equipment.
Exports of agriculture goods were also higher by one per cent, buoyed by the increase in exports of seafood, natural rubber, vegetable oil and saw log.
Imports from China reduced by 10.6 per cent to RM16 billion. Lower imports were recorded for petroleum products, machinery, equipment and parts as well as iron and steel products, while higher imports were registered for wood products, palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products and manufactures of plastics.
Compared to December 2019, imports rose by 0.3 per cent, while trade and exports contracted by 10.9 per cent and 23.9 per cent, respectively.
MITI said Malaysia’s total trade with the US posted an increase of 16 per cent yoy to RM15.41 billion and accounted for 9.9 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade.
Trade with the European Union (EU) slipped by 6.7 per cent yoy to RM14.26 billion or 9.1 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade.
In January 2020, trade with Japan which constituted 7.2 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade slipped by 2.7 per cent yoy to RM11.2 billion.