Malaysia’s total trade rose to RM170.9b in May

by SHAFIQQUL ALIFF / pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA’S total trade increased by 48.7% year on year (YoY) to RM170.9 billion in May 2021, said chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia in a statement said Malaysia’s exports, imports and total commerce allrose by 47.3%, 50.3%, and 48.7% respectively.

Exports continued its positive growth momentum in May 2021, expanding by 47.3% YoY to RM92.3 billion.

“The expansion was driven by both domestic exports and re-exports. Domestic exports stood at RM78.7 billion and contributed 85.2% to the total exports, widened by 45.9%.

“The re-exports registered RM13.7 billion, increased by 56.1%. Imports in May 2021 amounted to RM78.6 billion, surged by 50.3% YoY, outpacing export growth for the first time since April 2020,” Mohd Uzir said in a statement yesterday.

He added that exports to Singapore increased to RM4.1 billion, followed by the US (RM3.3 billion), India (RM3 billion), Japan (RM2.1 billion), China (RM2.1 billion) and the European Union (RM1.9 billion).

He also stated that the increase in exports was primarily driven by electrical and electronic products (RM8.1 billion), rubber products (RM3.6 billion) and petroleum products (RM3 billion), among others.

Malaysia’s trade surplus increased by 32.3% to RM13.7 billion, but in line with the uncertainty in domestic economic activity, the month-on-month performance of exports, imports, total trade and trade surplus showed declines of 12.6%, 7.8%, 10.4% and 32.5% respectively.

The rise in imports, on the other hand, was on the back of imports in electrical and electronic products (RM4.9 billion), petroleum products (RM4.3 billion) and chemical and chemical products (RM2.7 billion), among others.

“On the same note, expansion in imports by end-use was sustained by higher demand primarily for intermediate goods. Imports of intermediate goods (59.7% of the total imports) totalled RM46.9 billion, increased significantly by RM16.1 billion or 52.4%.

“Consumption goods (9.1% of total imports) registered an increase of 37.8% from RM5.2 billion in the preceding year to RM7.1 billion.

“Imports of capital goods, which amounted to RM8.9 billion, increased by 34% compared to May 2020, and comprised 11.4% of total imports,” said Mohd Uzir.

Moody’s Analytics associate economist Eric Chiang said while the extension of the latest Movement Control Order will weigh on businesses and the country’s economy, contributions from external trade will compensate for weak domestic demand and bolster output.

“Robust demand for electrical and electronic products, increasing orders for work-from-home equipment and digitalisation of businesses, as well as rubber and petroleum products, will support Malaysia’s exports.

The firm added that downside risks include surge in coronavirus cases causing full closures of factories and slow pace of vaccination delaying the country’s targeted easing of the lockdown, putting further hurdles in the path to recovery.