Exports plummet 25.5%, worst since 2009

May’s performance was directly affected by Covid-19 as it continued to show a higher downward trend from April


MALAYSIA’S exports fell 25.5% to RM62.7 billion year-on-year (YoY) in May 2020 from a year earlier, marking it the worst performance in more than a decade, the data from the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) revealed.

The exports performance was directly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as it continued to show a higher downward trend from April 2020. The forecast is the lowest since May 2009 when exports dived 29.5%, based on Refinitiv Eikon data.

According to DoSM’s external trade statistics for May 2020, Malaysia’s exports over the past five months of 2020 dropped by 9.7% to RM366.2 billion compared to RM405.4 billion for the same period of 2019.

“Lower exports in May 2020 were recorded to India, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, the European Union (EU), Hong Kong and Vietnam. However, exports to China registered an increase,” it said.

It said exports of manufactured goods, which constituted 86.5% of total exports, contracted by 23.5% to RM54.2 billion compared to the same month a year ago.

Exports of agriculture goods — which represented 7.9% of the country’s exports with a value of RM4.9 billion — decreased by 21.3% YoY.

Meanwhile, exports of mining goods declined 49.1% to RM3.2 billion, accounting for 5.1% of Malaysia’s exports.

Re-exports were valued at RM8.8 billion, registering a decrease of 30% YoY and accounted for 14% of total exports. Domestic exports also recorded a decrease of 24.7% or RM17.7 billion to RM53.9 billion.

DoSM said Malaysia’s imports this month reached RM52.3 billion, dropped by 30.4% or RM22.8 billion compared to the previous year, the largest decline since January 2009 during the global financial crisis.

During January to May this year, the country’s imports stood at RM322.4 billion, registering a decrease of 7.5% compared to the same period of 2019.

Lower imports in May 2020 were recorded from China, Singapore, the EU, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan and the US.

“Imports for all sectors, namely manufacturing, agriculture and mining, registered decreases. Manufactured goods, which were the highest contributor to the total imports with 87.6%, contracted by 28.5% YoY to RM45.8 billion.

“Imports of agriculture goods, which represented 6.1% of Malaysia’s imports or RM3.2 billion, decreased by 17% YoY,” it said.

Imports of mining goods dropped 48.7% to RM2.9 billion, accounting for 5.6% of Malaysia’s imports.

The three main categories of imports by end use registered decreases in May 2020 compared to May 2019.

“Imports of intermediate goods decreased by 27.8% to RM30.8 billion. Capital goods declined by 27.8% to RM6.7 billion and consumption goods slumped 21.9% to RM5.2 billion,” said DoSM.

The trade surplus, which was valued at RM10.4 billion, rose 14.7% compared to RM9.08 billion recorded a year ago.