Malaysia's trade balance returns to surplus in May

Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 29): Malaysia's trade performance returned to surplus in May 2020, reporting a trade surplus of RM10.4 billion.

The trade surplus totalling RM10.4 billion in May 2020 was higher by 14.7% compared with RM9.08 billion recorded in May 2019, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia.

In a statement, chief statistician of Malaysia Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the trade surplus was due to Malaysia's exports recording a decrease at a slower pace than imports. Exports in May decreased 25.5% to RM62.7 billion while imports declined at a whopping 30.4% to RM52.3 billion.

Total trade for the month was at RM115 billion, down 27.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) from RM159.521 billion recorded in May 2019. 

To recap, Malaysia registered a trade deficit of RM3.5 billion for the month of April this year — its first monthly deficit in over 22 years since October 1997 — following the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted supply chains worldwide.

The deficit that came after 269 consecutive months of surplus was due to a higher contraction in exports, which sank 23.8% y-o-y to RM64.9 billion — its steepest decline since September 2009 — compared with the 8% y-o-y fall in imports to RM68.4 billion.

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