Malaysia’s export in January declines to RM84.1b

The decline is mainly attributed to weaker E&E products and commodity sales such as LNG


MALAYSIAN exports fell 1.5% to RM84.1 billion in January from a year earlier, mainly due to weaker electrical and electronics (E&E), and commodity sales, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM).

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin (picture) said the country registered weaker sales of liquefied natural gas (LNG), crude petroleum, timber and timber-based products, and natural rubber.

“The main products that attributed to the decrease were: E&E products, which accounted for 38.6% of total exports, decreased RM1.9 billion or 5.5% to RM32.4 billion; and LNG, which accounted for 4.7% of total exports, shrank RM1.2 billion or 22.8% to RM4 billion due to the decrease in both export volume (-12.2%) and average unit value (-12.0%),” he said in a statement yesterday.

Additionally, crude petroleum (2.6% of total exports) also dropped RM268.8 million or 10.9% to RM2.2 billion due to the decrease in export volume (-22%) as average unit value increased 14.3%. Timber and timber-based products (2.3% of total exports) declined RM123 million or 5.9% to RM2 billion; and natural rubber (0.3% of total exports) dropped RM1.4 million or 0.5% to RM273.7 million due to the decrease in export volume (-8%) as average unit value increased 8.1%.

On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, Mohd Uzir said export decrement was due to contraction in exports to Thailand (-RM1.1 billion), Hong Kong (-RM907.2 million), the European Union (-RM642.6 million) and China (-RM623.5 million).

However, exports to the US rose with +RM754.2 million, Switzerland (+RM306.2 million) and Indonesia (+RM261.6 million).

According to DoSM’s external trade statistics January 2020, the two major destinations for Malaysia’s exports and imports in January were Singapore and China.

Notably, exports and imports from China, one of Malaysia’s largest trading partners, also declined on YoY basis as a result of LNG sales decline.

“Exports to China were valued at RM10.4 billion, which accounted for 12.4% of total exports, declined RM623.5 million (-5.7%), while imports (RM16 billion) shrank RM1.9 billion (-10.6%) YoY.

“The main product which attributed to the decrease in export was LNG, which contributed 5.4% of total exports, dropped RM595.2 million (-51.5%) to RM560.7 million. As for imports, refined petroleum products (6.8% of total imports), decreased RM481 million or 30.7% to RM1.1 billion,” he said.

Additionally, mechanical handling equipment and parts, which contributed 0.8% of total imports, slipped RM250.7 million or 65.1% to RM134.5 million; and motor cars and other motor vehicles for the transport of persons, which contributed 0.4% of total imports, dropped RM205.8 million or 78.4% to RM56.5 million.

“For Singapore, exports amounted to RM12.3 billion, which accounted for 14.6% of total exports, increased RM108 million (+0.9%) compared to the previous year.

“Imports from Singapore amounted to RM7.5 billion decreased RM71.7 million (-0.9%) from a year ago. The main product that was attributed to the decrease was E&E products (32.5% of total imports), with a decrease of RM236.4 million or 8.8% to RM2.4 billion,” he added.

In terms of overall imports, value fell 2.4% YoY to RM72.1 billion, mainly due to drop in capital goods and consumption goods.

“Imports of capital goods, which accounted for 10.6% of total imports, dropped 15% to RM7.6 billion due to the decline in capital goods (except transport equipment) (-16.1%). Transport equipment and industrial rose RM32.2 million (+7%).

“As for imports of consumption goods, which constituted 9% of total imports, recorded a decrease of RM63 million (1%) to RM6.5 billion. The drop was mainly attributed to semi-durables (-10%) and durables (-3.4%),” Mohd Uzir said.

He also noted that lower imports were mainly from China (-RM1.9 billion), Thailand (-RM872.8 million), Taiwan (-RM737.9 million) and Brazil (-RM471.3 million).

Meanwhile, higher imports were from the US (+RM1.4 billion), Australia (+RM496.6 million) and South Korea (+RM410.8 million).

Overall, total trade amounted to RM156.2 billion shrank 2% or RM3.1 billion, according to DoSM.

The trade surplus, which was valued at RM12 billion, rose RM484.4 million (+4.2%) from a year ago.