By MARK RAO
Total trade in Malaysia was up by 22.5% year-on-year (YoY) to RM139.2 billion in April this year, with electrical and electronics (E&E) products and intermediate goods driving export and import volumes respectively.
According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, trade surplus for the month under review stood at RM8.8 billion, representing a 3.3% decline from the RM9.1 billion posted in the corresponding period last year.
On a month-on-month (MoM) basis, trade in the country was down by RM20.7 billion, or 12.9%.
E&E remained the top contributor for the country’s exports, which expanded by 20.6% YoY to RM73.93 billion in April.
E&E products accounted for 35.5% of total exports and was valued higher by 22.2% YoY at RM26.2 billion, according to the latest government data released yesterday.
Palm oil and palm oil-based products followed, posting a 24.1% YoY jump to RM6.1 billion in trade value and making up 8.2% of total exports, while liquefied natural gas rose by 50.2% YoY to RM3.3 billion and represented 4.4% of all exports.
Crude petroleum, natural rubber, timber and timber-based products also increased by 65.7%, 93% and 1% YoY to RM2.4 billion, RM550.5 million and RM1.8 billion respectively, while collectively accounting for 6.3% of total exports in April.
However, refined petroleum products contracted by 15.8% YoY to RM3.8 billion in value, due to the 24.8% decrease in export volume but average unit value increased 12%.
Exports were also down on a MoM basis, posting a 10.5% YoY decrease to RM73.93 billion, with major export products including E&E and palm oil recording declines.
Meanwhile, imports in the country rose by 24.7% YoY to RM65.22 billion, underpinned by higher trade of intermediate, capital and consumption goods.
Comprising the bulk of total imports at 58.9% in April, inter- mediate goods recorded a trade value of RM38.4 billion, up by 29.2% YoY and largely driven by capital goods, parts and accessories, fuel and lubricants and industrial supplies.
Capital goods also increased by 14.8% YoY to RM8 billion and accounted for 12.3% of total imports in the country, while consumption goods were up by 1% YoY to RM5.7 billion.
The latter represented 8.7% of total imports, with the bulk coming from food and beverages, as well as durables — though non-durables had been lower by 5.7%.
However, on a MoM basis, imports were down by 15.6% to RM65.16 billion, with capital, intermediate and consumption goods all lower over the period.
For the month of April, Asean was Malaysia’s top trading partner, representing 28.6% of all exports between the two regions and up by 14.9% YoY at RM21.1 billion.
Asean also made up 24.9% of Malaysia’s imports, increasing 26.6% YoY to RM16.3 billion.
Meanwhile, China, Singapore and the European Union were the country’s top three other trading partners, with China leading the way at 13.7% and 19.1% of exports and imports respectively, between the two countries.
Exports to China were 50.6% higher YoY to RM10.2 billion in April, while imports were also up by 15.3% to RM12.5 billion over the same period.