KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 29): Malaysia's trade surplus widened by 26.9% to RM184.8 billion in 2020, the largest trade surplus ever recorded thus far, while total trade amounted to RM1.8 trillion, down 3.6% year-on-year (y-o-y), said the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM).
Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said in tandem with softer global demand and unfavourable external economic conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, total exports in 2020 contracted by 1.4% to RM981 billion from the preceding year, while imports declined by 6.3% or RM53.2 billion to RM796.2 billion.
He said December 2020 recorded the highest monthly export value of RM95.7 billion, up by 10.8% from the same month in 2019, outpacing import growth for eight consecutive months.
Mohd Uzir said after nine consecutive months of decline, imports rebounded to post growth of 1.6% to RM75 billion.
"Malaysia's exports continued their positive momentum in December 2020. The expansion in exports was supported by both re-exports and domestic exports.
"Re-exports stood at RM17.6 billion, up 22.9%, and contributed to 18.4% of the total exports, while domestic exports were valued at RM78.1 billion, recording growth of 8.3% y-o-y," he said in a statement today.
The trade surplus soared by 64.9% to RM20.7 billion y-o-y, he noted.
Mohd Uzir said Malaysia's export expansion was supported mainly by higher exports to Singapore (+RM2.2 billion), China (+RM1.9 billion), the United States (+RM1.7 billion), India (+RM1.62 billion), Hong Kong (+RM1.6 billion), and the European Union (+RM988.1 million).
The main products which contributed to the increase in exports were electrical and electronics products (+RM5.6 billion), rubber products (+RM3 billion), and palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products (+RM2.6 billion).
Meanwhile, increases in imports were mainly from China (+RM2.1 billion), India (+RM772.9 million), Hong Kong (+RM518.7 million), and Taiwan (+RM466 million).
The expansion in imports was noted for electrical and electronics products (+RM2.7 billion) and chemical and chemical products (+RM734.7 million).