PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s trade in October continued its downward trend for the 8th consecutive month since March amid slowing global demand and lower commodity prices, said the statistics department.
“The decline was a reflection of the ongoing challenges faced by Malaysia’s external sector as a result of global economic factors,” it said.
The total trade in October fell by 2.4% to RM239.5 billion ascribable to lower exports of 4.4% to RM126.2 billion and imports of 0.2% to RM113.3 billion, year-on-year (y-o-y).
Meanwhile, the trade balance remained in surplus with a value of RM12.9 billion, which shrank by 30.3% in October as reported in the Malaysia external trade statistics bulletin.
Chief Statistician Uzir Mahidin said Malaysia’s export performance recorded a reduction in October in line with the decline by both re-exports and domestic exports.
Re-exports amounted to RM29.8 billion, shrank by 2.2% as compared to October 2022.
Domestic exports worth RM96.4 billion, contributed 76.4% to total exports dropped by 5%.
Imports in October worth RM113.3 billion, fell by 0.2% as compared to the same month last year.
“Meanwhile, the trade surplus, contracted by 30.3% to RM12.9 billion, was the 42nd consecutive month of trade surplus since May 2020,” he said.
As compared to September, the performance of exports, imports and total trade recorded an increase of 1.5%, 13.4%t and 6.8%, respectively.
Meanwhile, the trade balance recorded a decrease of 47.2% as compared to September.
In addition, Malaysia’s total trade, exports, imports, and trade surplus showed a downward trend for the period of January to October.
“Total trade fell by 8%, from RM2.4 trillion to RM2.2 trillion, in line with the decline in exports (-8%) amounted to RM1.186 trillion as well as imports (-8%) valued at RM995.55 billion.
“At the same time, the trade surplus declined by 7.9% to post a value of RM190 billion,” it said.
Meanwhile, the investment, trade and industry ministry (Miti) said Malaysia’s performance was similar to its key trading partners, notably China, Taiwan, and Indonesia which experienced negative trade growth in October and a reduction in global imports.
In October, Miti said exports of manufactured goods, constituting 85.3% or RM107.59 billion of total exports, slipped by 3.5% y-o-y as a result of lower demand for petroleum products as well as electrical and electronic (E&E) products.
However, it said exports of transport equipment, processed food, machinery, equipment and parts, manufacturers of metal, paper and pulp products as well as wood products, registered expansion.
“Exports of agriculture goods (7.1% share) improved by 3.3% to RM8.9 billion compared to October 2022, marking its first positive growth after twelve consecutive months of decline.
Exports of mining goods (6.9% share) dipped by 21.9% y-o-y to RM8.75 billion attributed to lesser exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude petroleum,” it said.
E&E products, which were valued at RM49.23 billion and accounted for 39% of total exports, decreased by 2.3% compared to October 2022.
On a m-o-m basis, the ministry said exports of agriculture and mining goods rose by 10.7 and 10.4%, respectively while exports of manufactured goods declined marginally.
For the period of January to October, exports of manufactured goods weakened by 6.3% to RM1.016 trillion compared to the same period in 2022, attributed to lower exports of petroleum products, palm oil-based manufactured products and rubber products.
However, exports of processed food, paper and pulp products as well as transport equipment recorded strong growth.
“Exports of mining goods declined by 12.8% to RM84.92 billion owing to lower shipments of LNG and crude petroleum due to lower commodity prices.
“Exports of agriculture goods dropped by 23% to RM77.74 billion, underpinned by lesser exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products following the decrease in export prices of palm oil,” it said.
In October, trade with Asean rebounded by 1.7% y-o-y, and took up 26.9%, or RM64.39 billion of Malaysia’s total trade.
“Exports fell by 5.7% to RM36.57 billion due to lower exports of E&E products and petroleum products.
However, the contraction was partially offset by increased exports of chemicals and chemical products, coupled with palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products.
“Imports from Asean recorded double-digit growth of 13.4% to RM27.82 billion,” it said.
Miti said among Malaysia’s major export markets in Asean that recorded double-digit growth were Vietnam and the Philippines, buoyed by higher exports of petroleum products.