KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's exports fell 5.3% in February to RM66.60bil, the lowest value since August 2016 due to a contraction in the exports of manufactured goods and petroleum products.
The 5.3% decline was a stark contrast with a Bloomberg survey of an increase of a 2.3%, according to Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin on Thursday.
“Re-exports were valued at RM10.5bil, down by 28.1% and accounted for 15.7% of total exports. Domestic exports increased RM342.5mil or 0.6% to RM56.2bil,” he said.
He said the decrease in exports was attributed to lower exports to Hong Kong (-RM636.6 mil), Indonesia (-RM632.9mil), the US (-RM616mil) and Vietnam (-RM532.8mil).
Imports fell by 9.4% to RM55.50bil, the lowest since May 2016. The Bloomberg survey was a 0.9% increase.
“Total trade in February 2019 declined by 7.2% to RM122.10bil from February 2018. Trade surplus was RM11.10bil, surged 22.7% or RM2bil when compared to the previous year,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said the weaker exports in February – which account for 83.8% of total exports – contracted by 4.3% to RM55.84bil.
“This was mainly contributed by the decrease in exports of petroleum products, manufactures of metal as well as optical and scientific equipment. However, exports were recorded for electrical and electronic (E&E) products, iron and steel products as well as paper and pulp products,” it said.
MITI said Exports of agriculture goods (6.7% share) contracted by 13.7% to RM4.48bil. This contraction was led mainly by the decline in exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, particularly palm oil which declined by 11.4% to RM2.69 billion, due to lower average unit value (AUV).
E&E products, valued at RM25.81bil and constituted 38.8% of total exports, increased by 4.9% from February 2018.
Petroleum products, RM4.32bil, 6.5% of total exports, fell by 32.6% while chemicals and chemical products, RM3.93 billion, 5.9% of total exports, decreased by 4.2%. LNG, RM3.15bil, 4.7% of total exports, increased by 8.6%.
Palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, RM3.04bil, 4.6% of total exports, decreased by 16.9%.
Compared to January 2019, exports of manufactured, mining and agriculture goods contracted by 20.5%, 35.2% and 20.2%, respectively.
In February 2019, trade with China which absorbed 14.5% of Malaysia’s total trade slipped by 16.7% on-year to RM17.67bil.
“Exports declined by 1.6% to RM8.5bil due to lower exports of optical and scientific equipment, petroleum products as well as metalliferous ores and metal scrap.
“However, higher exports were recorded for E&E products, LNG as well as iron and steel products. Imports from China decreased by 27% to RM9.17bil,” it said.
MITI said when compared to January 2019, trade, exports and imports were lower by 38.9%, 22.9% and 48.8%, respectively.