PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has experienced a substantial drop in both its imports and exports, according to the investment, trade and industry ministry (Miti).
In a statement today, Miti said that the country’s exports fell by 18.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM115.16 billion in August, while imports decreased by 21.2% y-o-y to RM97.85 billion.
Total trade also fell by 19.8% y-o-y to RM213.01 billion amid slower global demand and lower commodity prices.
Despite the declining figures, Malaysia has continued to register its 40th consecutive month of trade surplus in August, registering a y-o-y growth of 0.1% to RM17.31 billion.
Miti said generally Malaysia’s performance was similar to its key trading partners, notably South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Indonesia, which also recorded negative trade growth in August and a drop in their global imports.
“Compared to July, trade and trade surplus contracted by 1.5% and 0.3%, respectively,” it said, adding that exports and imports fell by 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively.
Manufactured goods exports, which accounted for 85.4%, or RM98.36 billion of total exports, dropped by 17.7% y-o-y following reduced demand for electrical and electronic (E&E) products, petroleum products as well as palm oil-based manufactured products.
Exports of mining goods (7.3% share of exports) were lower by 23.1% y-o-y to RM8.46 billion due to a drop in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude petroleum exports.
Meanwhile, paper and pulp products, and processed food saw export growth, said Miti.
Trade with key partners decline
Malaysia’s trade with its major partners have also seen a decline, according to the statement.
Trade with Asean, which comprised RM59.46 billion (27.9%) of Malaysia’s total trade, dropped 16.3% y-o-y.
“Exports weakened by 20.6% to RM33.48 billion due to a fall in exports of petroleum products and E&E products,” said Miti.
Trade with China, accounting for 16.7% or RM35.65 billion of Malaysia’s overall trade, experienced a decline of 18.7% y-o-y.
Exports to the world’s second-largest economy fell by 20.3% to RM14.72 billion on lower exports of E&E products and LNG, said Miti.
“Trade with the US in August, which constituted 9.7% of Malaysia’s total trade, weakened by 15.7% y-o-y to RM20.68 billion,” it said.
Trade with Japan, which made up 5.9% or RM12.62 billion of total trade, fell by 25.7% y-o-y, with exports dropping by 19.3% to RM7.43 billion following lower shipment of LNG, petroleum products and E&E products.
“Trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners, which took up 67.5%, or RM143.71 billion of Malaysia’s total trade, edged down by 17.7% y-o-y,” Miti said.
At the same time, exports to FTA partners contracted by 18.6% to RM79.47 billion while imports fell by 16.6% to RM64.24 billion.
Interestingly, Malaysia’s trade with the European Union (8.2% share of total trade) edged up by 0.6% y-o-y to RM17.49 billion.