MATRADE: April trade up 12%, exports rebound 9% YoY

by AKMAR ANNUAR / pic TMR FILE

MALAYSIA’S trade saw significant growth in April 2024, with a year-on-year (YoY) increase of 12.1%, reaching RM221.74 billion.

This marks the fourth consecutive month of YoY growth, suggesting a positive trend in global trade recovery, according to a statement from the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (MATRADE).

Exports for April 2024 rose by 9.1% YoY to RM114.72 billion, bouncing back after two months of decline.

The increase was mainly driven by higher exports of machinery, equipment, chemicals, crude petroleum, palm oil products, and iron and steel.

Matrade noted that exports to Asean, the US and the European Union (EU) saw significant growth, while exports to China recovered from the previous month’s decline, highlighting economic recovery in key markets.

Imports in April 2024 grew by 15.6% YoY to RM107.02 billion, largely due to strong imports of intermediate goods used in manufacturing export products.

“Malaysia posted a trade surplus of RM7.7 billion, marking the 48th consecutive month of trade surplus since May 2020,” it said.

Moreover, from January to April 2024, trade, exports and imports reached their highest values ever for this period.

Trade increased by 8.3% to RM912.27 billion compared to the same period in 2023.

Exports rose by 3.8% to RM477.05 billion, and imports were up by 13.7% to RM435.22 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of RM41.83 billion.

However, compared to March 2024, April saw declines in trade, exports, imports and trade surplus by 9.3%, 10.8%, 7.6% and 39.4% respectively.

This drop was mainly due to reduced trade with major partners like Taiwan, Asean, India, Japan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and lower trade in electrical and electronic (E&E) products, petroleum products and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

It said exports to Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners in April 2024 grew by 4.4% YoY to RM78.03 billion, with notable increases in exports to Hong Kong, Mexico and Canada, driven by strong E&E product exports.

According to MATRADE, Malaysia’s trade performance aligns with the expected global trade recovery.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) forecasts a 2.6% growth in global goods trade for 2024, following a contraction in 2023.

The OECD and International Monetary Fund (IMF) also project a strong rebound for 2024.

The IMF’s April 2024 World Economic Outlook revised global GDP growth upward to 3.2% (from 3.1% in January), with Malaysia’s GDP growth estimated at 4.4% (up from 4.3%).

The corporation also noted Malaysia’s improved position in the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Ranking 2023, moving up to 27th place from 32nd in 2022, which is expected to further boost trade and job creation, supporting economic growth.

The RM329.5 billion in approved investments in 2023, a record high, includes RM152 billion in manufacturing projects.

These projects, especially in high-value sectors, are expected to enhance trade and create jobs, particularly for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in supply chains.

For the record, of the 2,386 manufacturing projects approved from 2021 to 2023, 75.5% have been implemented, while 23.1% are in the planning stages.