KUALA LUMPUR, June — Trade surplus in Malaysia grew 14.7 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM10.41 billion last month, the highest monthly trade surplus recorded for May since May 2008.
It also marked the fourth time that the country achieved a trade surplus above RM10 billion this year, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said in a statement today.
However, total trade during the month shrank 27.8 percent to RM114.96 billion compared to a year earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lower trade was recorded particularly with Singapore, Thailand, India, China, Japan, and Indonesia.
“Exports totalled RM62.69 billion, a contraction of 25.5 per cent, while imports decreased 30.4 per cent to RM52.27 billion.
“Compared to April 2020, trade, exports and imports slipped 13.7 percent, 3.2 percent, and 23.6 percent, respectively,” the senior minister said in a statement today.
For the first five months of the year, trade in Malaysia fell 8.7 percent y-o-y to RM688.57 billion.
Lower trade was recorded with Thailand, Singapore, India, China, and Hong Kong, while higher trade was registered with South Korea and Indonesia. Exports during the period shrank 9.7 percent to RM366.16 billion while imports contracted 7.5 percent to RM322.41 billion.
Trade surplus was valued at RM43.75 billion, 23 percent lower against the same period of 2019.
Mohamed Azmin said exports of rubber products, especially rubber gloves, registered double-digit growth for two consecutive months, increasing 20.5 percent or RM461 million in May, underpinned by the growing demand for rubber gloves which benefitted from the pandemic.
This was despite the decline in exports of manufactured goods by 23.5 percent y-o-y to RM54.21 billion.
“The contraction of manufactured goods which constituted 86.5 percent of total exports was due to lower exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products, petroleum products, manufactures of metal, chemicals, and chemical products as well as machinery, equipment and parts,” he said.
Exports of agriculture goods (7.9 percent share) decreased 21.3 percent to RM4.94 billion due to lower exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products compared with May 2019.
Exports of mining goods (5.1 percent share) dropped 49.1 percent y-o-y to RM3.22 billion, mainly due to lower exports of crude petroleum and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Meanwhile, trade with ASEAN in May contracted by 35.6 percent y-o-y to RM28.11 billion, accounting for 24.5 percent share of total trade in Malaysia.
Exports to ASEAN edged down 30.6 percent to RM17.19 billion partly due to lower exports of petroleum products, E&E products, iron, and steel products, manufactures of metal, and crude petroleum.
However, higher exports were recorded for palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products and LNG. Imports from ASEAN plunged by 42.2 percent to RM10.92 billion.
As for trade with China which represented 20.7 percent of Malaysia’s total trade or RM23.75 billion, the May 2020 statistics showed a decrease of 10.6 percent y-o-y.
Exports to China continued to expand for two consecutive months, rising by 4.5 percent to RM11.78 billion, led by exports of manufactured goods which grew by 9.1 percent, mainly due to higher exports of petroleum products, iron and steel products as well as other manufactures (SSD).
Imports from China slipped by 21.7% to RM11.96 billion.
Mohamed Azmin further noted that trade with the United States (US), which constituted 10.7 percent total trade in Malaysia for May, decreased 12.5 percent y-o-y to RM12.26 billion.
Exports to the US eased 9.3 percent to RM7.09 billion, weighed down by lower exports of E&E products, palm oil, and palm oil-based agriculture products, optical and scientific equipment as well as textiles, apparels, and footwear.
Meanwhile, imports from the US contracted by 16.4 percent to RM5.16 billion.
He said trade with the European Union (EU), which contributed 8.7 percent to Malaysia’s total trade, went down 29.8 percent y-o-y to RM10.01 billion. Exports to the bloc fell 25.4 percent to RM5.62 billion while imports from the EU was down 34.8 percent at RM4.39 billion.
Meanwhile, trade with Japan contracted 25.9 percent y-o-y to RM7.97 billion in May and accounted for 6.9 percent of Malaysia’s total trade. Exports declined 33 percent to RM4.01 billion while imports fell 16.9 percent to RM3.96 billion.
On trade with free trade agreement (FTA) partners, which made up 66.4 percent of Malaysia’s total trade, he said it recorded a decline of 28.4 percent y-o-y to RM76.3 billion.
Exports to FTA partners were valued at RM42.76 billion, a decrease of 26.3 percent, and imports were lower by 31 percent at RM33.54 billion, said the minister.