KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s trade performance for 2019, scheduled to be announced tomorrow by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking, is expected to be a bit softer as compared to the previous year.
Anticipation is running high on how Malaysia’s international trade fared last year, with many being cautiously optimistic.
Several industry players and businesses opine that 2019 was a challenging year for the local export community as there were multiple global headwinds facing them.
Rising trade protectionism, a downturn in the global semiconductor cycle, lower global commodity prices, a slowdown in global trade and lacklustre global manufacturing all led to lower growth of multiple sectors particularly the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector.
Based on the monthly data reported by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), it is very likely that the whole year’s trade performance was not as vibrant as in previous years, although Malaysia was not the only country affected by the lack of vitality in the global economy.
Total trade for countries around the region such as Korea and Indonesia declined by 8.3%.
Singapore’s total trade went down by 4.3%, Thailand by 3%, China by 1% and Taiwan by 0.6%. Only Vietnam was spared, with a growth of 7.4% registered in its total trade.
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said that throughout 2019, the federation saw a sluggish performance of the global economy and Malaysia was not spared from its effects.
“Our manufacturers have been bracing for various challenges to remain competitive. Sectors such as E&E and petrochemicals are affected and industries are now re-strategising their business by looking at diversifying their markets, ” he said.- Bernama
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