January exports down 1.5% to RM84bil but above forecast

​Malaysia’s exports in January 2020 fell by 1.5% to RM84.08bil from a year ago and the decline was better than a Bloomberg forecast of 1.6% decline as trade was impacted by lower exports to China

Malaysia’s exports in January 2020 fell by 1.5% to RM84.08bil from a year ago and the decline was better than a Bloomberg forecast of 1.6% decline as trade was impacted by lower exports to China.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said on Wednesday imports slipped by 2.4% to RM72.08bil versus the survey of a 1.4% decline.

Malaysia recorded a trade surplus of RM12bil in January 2020, 4.2% higher compared to January 2019. This was the highest monthly trade surplus for January since January 2011 and the 267th consecutive month of surplus.

While total trade amounted to RM156.17bil, this was a contraction of 2% from January 2019.

A Bloomberg survey had forecast a 1.4% decline in imports and a surplus of RM10.70bil.

“Lower trade was seen with China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Taiwan, while higher trade was recorded with the United States (US), Australia, Republic of Korea (ROK) and Indonesia.

“On a month-on-month (m-o-m) basis, total trade, exports, imports and trade surplus decreased by 2.6%, 2.7%, 2.4% and 4%, respectively,” it said.

MITI said in January 2020, exports of manufactured goods rose by 1.1% to RM71bil and accounted for 84.4% share of Malaysia’s total exports.

The main contributors to the increase in exports were petroleum products which increased by 45.8%, iron and steel products (up 43%), rubber products (up 10.7%), followed by machinery, equipment and parts (up 5.7%).

However, exports of mining goods fell by 20.1% to RM7.15bil and constituted 8.5% of Malaysia’s total exports.

MITI said the lower exports were mainly due to the contraction in exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which was led by lower average unit value (AUV) and volume.

It said electrical and electronic (E&E) products totaled RM32.41bil and accounted for 38.6% of total exports, fell by 5.5% from January 2019.

As for petroleum products, it increased by 45.8% to RM6.71bil and represented 8% of total exports.

Chemicals and chemical products saw a decline of 17.7% to RM4.25bil (5.1% of total exports).

Also declining were LNG by 22.8% to RM3.99bil (7% of total exports) and palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products inched up by 0.5% to RM3.74bil.

Trade with China

MITI said in January 2020, trade with China which absorbed 16.9% of Malaysia’s total trade contracted by 8.7% y-o-y to RM26.4bil.

Exports declined by 5.7% to RM10.4bil owing to lower exports of LNG, metalliferous ores and metal scrap, chemicals and chemical products as well as E&E products.

However, exports of manufactured goods increased by 5.4% particularly for iron and steel products, manufactures of metal as well as optical and scientific equipment.

Exports of agriculture goods were also higher by 1%, buoyed by the increase in exports of seafood, natural rubber, vegetable oil and saw log.

Imports from China fell by 10.6% to RM16bil. The reasons were lower imports for petroleum products, machinery, equipment and parts as well as iron and steel products, while higher imports were registered for wood products, palm oil and

palm oil-based agriculture products and manufactures of plastics.

Trade with US

Total trade with the US climbed by 16% y-o-y to RM15.41bil and accounted for 9.9% of Malaysia’s total trade.

This was the 11th consecutive month Malaysia’s trade with the US recorded expansion.

Exports to the US rose by 9.5% to reach RM8.71bil underpinned mainly by higher exports of manufactured goods which increased by 10.9%.

Manufactured exports accounted for 97.3% or RM8.47bil of Malaysia’s total exports to the US.

Expansion in exports were seen for E&E products, wood products, manufactures of metal, machinery, equipment and parts as well as non-metallic mineral products.

January 2020 vs December 2019

Meanwhile, the Statistics Department said on a m-o-m basis, exports slipped RM2.3bil (-2.7%) from RM86.4bil.

The main products which attributed to the decrease were:

Palm oil and palm oil-based products, which fell by RM318.5mil or 5.5% from RM5.8bil.

Exports of palm oil shrank by RM307.8mil or 8.7% due to the decrease in export volume (-15.5%) as average unit value increased 8.1%;

Crude petroleum decreased by RM300.2mil or 12.0% from RM2.5bil due to the decline in export volume (-15.6%) as average unit value increased 4.2%;

Refined petroleum products fell by RM172.6mil or 2.8% from RM6.1bil due to the lower export volume (-3.0%) as average unit value increased 0.2%;

Timber and timber-based products dropped RM67.2mil or 3.3% from RM2bil; and

E&E products, rose RM1.4bil or 4.4% from RM31.1bil; and

LNG expanded by RM429.7mil or 12.1% from RM3.6bil due to the increase in both export volume (+10.2%) and average unit value (+1.7%).

Source: The Star 

Posted on : 04 March 2020
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Last Updated : Thursday 21st May 2020