Malaysia’s trade in May 2017 registered a value of RM153.3 billion (US$35.6 billion) and grew by 31.5% as against RM116.6 billion (US$27.1 billion) recorded in May 2016, according to figures from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
Expansion in trade was seen with almost all trading partners particularly ASEAN, China, the United States of America (USA), the European Union (EU), India, Taiwan and Australia.
Exports in May 2017 posted a stronger year-on-year growth compared to imports for the first time since May 2016. Exports grew by 32.5% to RM79.4 billion while imports increased by 30.4% to RM73.91 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of RM5.49 billion. This was the 235th consecutive month of trade surplus recorded since November 1997.
On a month-on-month basis, total trade, exports and imports expanded by 10.2%, 7.5% and 13.3%, respectively.
In January-May 2017, total trade grew by 25.4% to RM722.89 billion, exports increased by 23.3% to RM377.96 billion while imports rose by 27.7% to RM344.93 billion. The trade surplus amounted to RM33.03 billion.
Double Digit Growth in All Major Sectors
Exports of manufactured goods in May 2017 grew by RM16.43 billion or 32.7% to RM66.61 billion compared to RM50.18 billion in the corresponding month a year ago.
Exports of agriculture goods increased by 25.4% to RM6.95 billion, underpinned by higher exports of palm oil which registered an increase of 25% to RM4.2 billion, due to both higher Average Unit Value (AUV) and volume.
Exports of mining goods climbed 32% to RM5.07 billion, spurred by higher exports of crude petroleum also on account of greater AUV and volume.
Compared to April 2017, exports of manufactured and agriculture goods expanded by 10.3% and 10.4%, respectively while exports of mining goods was lower by 22%.
In January-May 2017, exports of manufactured goods increased by 21.6% to RM308.47 billion.
ASEAN – Double Digit Trade Growth since January 2017
Trade with ASEAN in May 2017 increased by 34.1% to RM42.2 billion and accounted for 27.5% of Malaysia’s total trade. The higher trade figures stemmed from double digit export growth of 33.7%, totaling RM24.1 billion.
Exports in May 2017 grew for seven straight months and recorded double digit growth since December 2016. Higher exports was buoyed by increased shipments of E&E products, petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products, machinery, equipment and parts as well as processed food.
Exports to all ASEAN partners with the exception of Viet Nam and Laos recorded double digit growth. Exports of all manufactured goods registered increases except for non-metallic mineral products.
Imports from ASEAN expanded by 34.6% to RM18.1 billion.
China – May 2017 Export Growth, the Highest Since February 2010
In May 2017, trade with China increased by 32.3% to RM25.21 billion and accounted for 16.4% of Malaysia’s total trade.
Exports recorded the highest year-on-year growth since February 2010, surged by 51.5% to RM10.73 billion. This was attributed to greater demand for E&E products, petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products as well as rubber products.
Imports expanded by 20.9% to RM14.48 billion. On a month-on-month basis, total trade, exports and imports grew by 11.5%, 5.6% and 16.2%, respectively.
In January-May 2017, trade with China soared by 32.6% to RM116.57 billion. Exports to China was valued at RM50 billion, 44.3% higher compared with the same period last year, steered by the exports of E&E products, petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products, rubber products as well as Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).
Imports from China increased by 24.9% to RM66.57 billion.
EU - Double Digit Export Growth for 5 Consecutive Months
Trade with the EU remained robust in May 2017, recording a growth of 14.9% to RM15.15 billion and constituted 9.9% of Malaysia’s total trade.
Exports surged by 29.7% to RM8.01 billion, growing faster than imports for five straight months since the beginning of the year and logged the highest growth since April 2010. This stellar performance was aided by higher exports of E&E products, palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, iron and steel products as well as rubber products. Imports expanded by 1.9% to RM7.14 billion.
Among the top 10 EU markets, exports to 7 countries registered double digit growth. Exports to the Netherlands increased by 46.1%, Germany (↑26.5%), Italy (↑49.4%), Spain (↑31.1%), Slovenia (↑69.8%), Poland (↑78.7%) and Hungary (↑43.4%).
Compared to April 2017, total trade, exports and imports rose by 17.3%, 7.1% and 31.4%, respectively.
Trade with the EU was up by 15.7% to RM69.1 billion in January-May 2017. Malaysia’s exports to the EU expanded by 24.5% to RM39.11 billion. This was contributed by higher exports of E&E products, palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, iron and steel products, chemicals and chemical products as well as optical and scientific equipment.
Imports from the EU increased by 5.9% to RM29.99 billion.
USA - Manufactured Goods Continued to be the Export Driver
Trade with the USA grew by 30% to RM14.45 billion, constituting 9.4% of Malaysia’s total trade in May 2017. Exports surged by 16.3% to RM7.42 billion while imports totaled RM7.02 billion, jumped 48.5%.
Manufactured goods accounted for 95.5% of Malaysia’s exports to the USA and products which contributed to the increase in exports were E&E products, rubber products, machinery, equipment and parts as well as petroleum products.
On a month-on-month basis, total trade, exports and imports rose by 14.4%, 0.8% and 33.3%, respectively.
In the first five months of 2017, trade with the USA increased by 23.3% to RM68.2 billion. Malaysia’s exports to the USA grew by 12.6% to RM36.11 billion. This was driven mainly by higher demand for E&E products, rubber products, machinery, equipment and parts, optical and scientific equipment as well as iron and steel products. Imports expanded by 38.1% to RM32.08 billion.
Trade with Japan Remained Resilient
Trade with Japan in May 2017 rose by 17% to RM9.83 billion from a year ago and constituted 6.4% of Malaysia’s total trade. Exports totaled RM4.8 billion, grew by 12.8% while imports amounted to RM5.03 billion, an expansion of 21.3%.
Exports of E&E products, chemicals and chemical products, crude petroleum, manufactures of metal as well as wood products led to the increase in exports.
Total trade, exports and imports were lower by 14.3%, 24.7% and 1.2% respectively, over the level in April 2017.
During the first five months of 2017, trade with Japan expanded by 18.9% to RM57.56 billion with exports and imports valued at RM31.61 billion and RM25.95 billion, respectively.
Exports grew by 21.8% and imports by 15.6%. The increase in exports was buoyed by E&E products, LNG, chemicals and chemical products as well as crude petroleum.
Trade with FTA Partners
In May 2017, total trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners surged by 31.9% to RM95.66 billion or 62.4% of Malaysia’s total trade.
Exports amounted to RM49.59 billion, a growth of 34.1% while imports expanded by 29.7% to RM46.07 billion. Exports to almost all FTA partners registered growth except for Chile, Pakistan, Viet Nam and Laos.
Exports to Australia surged by 61.9% to RM3.14 billion, underpinned by higher exports of crude petroleum, the Republic of Korea (ROK) (↑41% to RM2.2 billion, LNG), Turkey (↑59.4% to RM850.6 million, E&E products), India (↑4.8% to RM2.87 billion, E&E products) and New Zealand (↑38.1% to RM392.5 million, crude petroleum).
Compared to April 2017, total trade, exports and imports increased by 8.8%, 5.9% and 12%, respectively.
During the period of January-May 2017, trade with FTA partners amounted to RM456.55 billion, grew by 26.9%. Exports rose by 26.5% to RM239.62 billion, while imports expanded by 27.4% to RM216.94 billion.
In May 2017, imports was valued at RM73.91 billion, grew by 30.4% compared to the previous year.
In January-May 2017, imports expanded by 27.7% to RM344.93 billion. Intermediate goods were valued at RM200.61 billion, increased by 29.3%, capital goods (RM48.33 billion, ↑28.2%) and consumption goods (RM28.74 billion, ↑4.4%).