Malaysia Dec 2019 exports up; full-year trade down at RM1.8 trillion

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 4): Malaysia exports and imports rose 2.7% and 0.9% respectively in December 2019 from a year earlier although full-year total trade numbers fell to RM1.8 trillion due to lower demand from major trading partners, the Statistics Department said today.

In a statement, the department said Malaysia's total trade decreased 2.5% to RM1.8 trillion from RM1.9 trillion a year earlier. Exports declined 1.7% to RM986.4 billion, while imports were lower by 3.5% at RM849.0 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of RM137.4 billion.

"This was the 22nd consecutive year of trade surplus for Malaysia since 1998. The decline in total trade was due to lower demand from Malaysia's major trading partners. Lower trade was recorded with Singapore, Hong Kong, the European Union, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Republic of Korea," the department said.

Total trade in the fourth quarter of 2019 (4Q19) contracted by 3.6% to RM479.2 billion compared with RM497.3 billion a year ago.

Meanwhile, 4Q19 exports reached RM257.9 billion, 3.3% lower from the same period last year while imports contracted by 4% to RM221.4 billion. Trade surplus in 4Q19 rose marginally by 0.6% to RM36.5 billion, it said.

For December 2019, the department said Malaysia's total trade increased 1.9% to RM160.2 billion from a year earlier after exports and imports rose 2.7% and 0.9% respectively.

The department said the increase in exports was driven by domestic exports, which expanded 3.3% to RM72.1 billion although re-exports decreased 0.3% to RM14.3 billion. Imports grew 0.9% to RM73.8 billion, it said.

"Higher exports were registered to China (+RM2.1 billion), the United States (+RM1.2 billion), Indonesia (+RM979.4 million), Taiwan (+RM721.6 million) and Vietnam (+RM353.3 million). Meanwhile, higher imports were recorded from the United Arab Emirates (+RM1.9 billion), Japan (+RM857.0 million) and China (+RM473.7 million).

"The main products which contributed to the growth in exports in December 2019 were refined petroleum products (+RM1.6 billion), palm oil and palm oil-based products (+RM1.0 billion), timber and timber-based products (+RM180.9 million) and natural rubber (+RM21.9 million). However, decreases were recorded for electrical & electronic products (-RM1.8 billion), liquefied natural gas (-RM961.6 million) and crude petroleum (-RM799.3 million).

"Meanwhile, imports by end use recorded an increase for intermediate goods (+RM2.4 billion) and consumption goods (+RM212.1 million). Nevertheless, imports for capital goods decreased RM1.1 billion," the department said.