KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's trade exports grew by 1.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) in April to RM85.2bil on higher exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) goods, beating a Bloomberg survey that forecast exports had contracted 2.1%.
According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti), the result was the highest export value ever recorded for April, ending two successive months of year-on-year decline since February this year.
However, imports increased 4.4% to RM74.35bil, resulting in a trade surplus of RM10.86bil, 16.6% lower from April 2018. The imports were much better than the Bloomberg survey of a contraction of 0.3%.
Miti said on a on-month basis, total trade increased by 3.8% and exports by 1.4% and imports by 6.7%. Trade surplus contracted by 24.5%.
For the January to April period, total trade value was 0.4% lower y-o-y to RM594.72bil with a 0.2% dip in exports to RM321.26bil and a 0.7% decrease in imports to RM273.45bil.
Trade surplus rose 3.1% to RM47.81bil over the four months to April 30.
Exports of manufactured goods expanded in April, growing 2.7% y-o-y to RM72.49bil. Exports of mining and agriculture goods contracted 1.5% and 9.3% to RM6.66bil and RM5.45bil respectively.
In terms of product breakdown, the rise in export value was led by E&E goods, chemicals and chemical products as well as double-digit percentage increases in petroleum products and LNG.
However, a 23% decline in the export value of metal manufactures mitigated total growth in April.
Among Malaysia's major trading partners, exports to Japan saw the most substantial growth.
"Exports surged by 7.7% to RM5.41bil after registering five consecutive y-o-y declines since November 2018, driven mainly by a rise in exports of LNG," said Miti.
This was followed by exports to Asean, which expanded 7,2% to RM25.63bil and shipments to the US, which rose 3.1% to RM7.72bil.
Malaysia's exports to its Free Trade Agreement partners increased 2.7% to RM97.74bil with shipments to India leading the expansion.
However, exports to China declined 6.9% to RM11.55bil while shipments to the EU fell 8.6% to RM8.16bil.