Trade surplus at 10-year high in September

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 7, 2018.
-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s trade surplus hit a 10-year high of RM15.3 billion in September as exports expanded 6.7% while imports shrank 2.7%.

Exports ballooned to RM83 billion year-on-year in September, with re-exports registering a 26.2% increase over the same period, according to data from the Department of Statistics released on Monday.

These were driven largely by an expansion in exports of electrical and electronic products (up 6.5%) and refined petroleum products (up 20.5%), although demand for palm oil and palm oil-based products had declined (down 11.5%).

“Total trade increased RM3.3 billion or 2.3% in September 2018 [to] RM150.8 billion,” said Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin, the chief statistician of Malaysia in a statement.

Domestic exports in September, climbed 2.7% year-on-year to RM66.5 billion. Export growth was primarily expanded by exports to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia and South Korea.

Meanwhile, imports contracted to RM67.8 billion on lower imports from India, South Korea, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates and the European Union. These were primarily led by lower demand for intermediate goods (down 9.3%), capital goods (down 25.2%) and consumption goods (down 10%).

Asean nations remained Malaysia’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 28.5% of exports and 27% of imports. China accounted for 13.6% of exports and 19.4% of imports.