KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s total trade in March 2017 expanded by 31.1 per cent, reaching RM159.86 billion (US$36.9 billion) compared to the same month last year, with exports increasing by 24.1 per cent to RM82.6 billion.
This was the fourth consecutive month since December 2016 in which exports registered double-digit growth said Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) on Friday (May 5).
Malaysia’s trade surplus stood at RM5.41 billion, in the 233rd consecutive month of a trade surplus since November 1997.
Imports in March 2017 grew by 39.4 per cent to RM77.22 billion.
MITI said total trade for the first quarter of 2017 surged by 24.3 per cent to RM430.51 billion compared with RM346.38 billion in the same period of 2016.
Exports rose 21.4 per cent to RM224.7 billion and imports expanded by 27.7 per cent to RM205.82 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of RM18.88 billion.
Expansion in trade was seen with all major trading partners, namely ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, the European Union (EU) and the United States.
“In March 2017, double-digit exports growth was registered for all major sectors, namely manufacturing, mining, and agriculture goods,” MITI said.
Export of manufactured goods grew by 22.1 per cent to RM67.26 billion compared with a year ago, accounting for an 81.4 per cent share of total exports.
For mining goods, export increased by 36.1 per cent to RM7.67 billion, while the export of agriculture goods surged by 25.4 per cent to RM6.89 billion, led by palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products.
Trade with ASEAN in March 2017 grew by 27.4 per cent to RM42.47 billion from a year ago.
Exports to the region expanded by 24.8 per cent to RM23.95 billion, mainly through a significant growth in exports of electrical and electronic products, petroleum products and crude petroleum, as well as chemicals and chemical products.
Trade with China in March 2017 increased by 44.1 per cent to RM25.6 billion, trade with the EU amounted to RM15.46 billion, up 27.1 per cent, while trade with Japan increased by 15.8 per cent to RM13.01 billion with exports registering RM6.91 billion.
MITI said there was double-digit expansion in exports to some free trade agreement partners, namely India, which grew by 15.2 per cent to RM3.31 billion, Turkey (97.1 per cent to RM1.01 billion), New Zealand (72.3 per cent to RM421.2 million) and South Korea (28.9 per cent to RM2.51 billion).
In March 2017, one of the three main categories of imports by end use were intermediate goods, valued at RM43.07 billion and accounting for 55.8 per cent of total imports.
This increased by 36.3 per cent due mainly due to higher imports of parts and accessories of capital goods.
The other categories were capital goods, which grew by 82.4 per cent to RM13.54 billion, constituting a 17.5 per cent share due mainly to higher imports of capital goods except transport equipment, and consumption goods, which rose by 82.4 per cent to RM6.09 billion, accounting for a 7.9 per cent share, with higher imports of semi-durables, particularly plastics.
(Source: Channel NewsAsia)