KUALA LUMPUR — Feb. 7, 2018: Malaysia’s total trade surged by 19.4 per cent to RM1.77 trillion last year compared to RM1.49 trillion in 2016, with Asean countries taking in 29.2 per cent of the country’s exports.
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.
Trade with Asean expanded by 21 per cent or RM84.49 billion, with China it increasde 20.6 per cent or RM49.68 billion, the European Union (17.5 per cent or RM26.05 billion), the United States (16.3 per cent or RM22.12 billion) and Japan (14.7 per cent or RM17.77 billion).
Total trade for the fourth quarter of 2017 (Q417) expanded by 13.3 per cent to RM462.62 billion compared with the same quarter in 2016. Exports increased by 12.4 per cent to RM245.14 billion, while imports rose by 14.4 per cent to RM217.48 billion, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed today.
This resulted in a trade surplus of RM27.66 billion. Compared with Q317, trade, exports and imports increased by 2.4 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively.
Malaysia’s total trade for last December recorded 6.2 per cent growth to RM151.41 billion compared with a year ago. A higher trade surplus of RM7.25 billion was also registered in December, making it the 242nd consecutive month of trade surplus since November 1997.
Exports in December expanded by 4.7 per cent year-on-year to RM79.33 billion
Among the major highlights of 2017 trade were double-digit year-on-year growth recorded for all months, with the exception for June and December, and all sectors also recorded strong expansion with double-digit growth.
There was a sharp rebound in the export growth of major commodities as world prices improved last year.
Exports to Free Trade Agreement partners also increased, in particular to Asean, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Turkey, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Chile.
Last year, there was robust export growth to advanced countries, in particular, the US, EU, and notably the Netherlands and Germany, and greater demand was also recorded from emerging markets such as Mexico, Brazil and South Africa.
Asean remained 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. China continued to be Malaysia’s largest trading partner for nine consecutive years.
Electrical and electronic (E&E) products remained as the largest export sector last year, at 36.7 per cent of the nation’s total exports worth RM343 billion after expanding by 19.2 per cent or RM55.19 billion.
E&E products, which saw over RM3 billion increase in exports, included electronic integrated circuits, computers and data processing equipment as well as parts and accessories for office machines.
Other manufactured products that contributed to last year’s exports growth were petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products, rubber products, iron and steel products, manufactures of metal, optical and scientific equipment and transport equipment.
Exports of mining goods surged 23.9 per cent to RM80.6 billion and totalled 8.6 per cent share of total exports in 2017 while exports of agriculture goods grew by 10.9 per cent to RM78.12 billion and accounted for 8.4 per cent share of total exports. Palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, as well as natural rubber, were the main contributors to rise in exports. — Bernama