KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia posted a trade surplus of RM10.41bil in May, rebounding from a deficit of RM3.63bil in April but overall exports were weaker than expected, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) said.
It said the trade surplus was the highest monthly trade surplus for the month of May since May 2008.
Trade in May 2020 fell by 27.8% to RM114.96bil on-year as lower trade was recorded particularly with Singapore, Thailand, India, China, Japan and Indonesia.
Miti said the performance was similar in other regional countries, which recorded lower trade growth for May 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic that continued to slow economic activities globally.
“Exports totalled RM62.69bil, contracting by 25.5% while imports decreased by 30.4% to RM52.27bil, ” it said.
Miti said when compared with April this year, trade contracted by 13.7%, exports by 3.2% and imports 23.6%.
The contraction in exports was sharper than the 19.9% drop forecast by analysts surveyed by Reuters and the lowest since May 2009 when exports tumbled 29.5%, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.
In April, shipments had fallen 23.8% year-on-year.
Miti said Malaysia’s exports over the past five months of 2020 dropped by 9.7% to RM366.2bil compared with RM405.4bil in the previous corresponding period.
Exports in May were lower to India, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, the European Union, Hong Kong and Vietnam.
However, exports to China registered an increase.
Exports of manufactured goods which constituted 86.5% total exports, contracted by 23.5% to RM54.2bil on-year.
Exports of agriculture goods with a value of RM4.9bil decreased by 21.3% year-on-year (y-o-y). Its exports of mining goods fell by 49.1% to RM3.2bil, accounting for 5.1% share of Malaysia’s exports.
Miti said demand for rubber products surged due to Covid-19.
Exports of rubber products especially rubber gloves registered a double-digit growth for two consecutive months, increasing 20.5% or RM461mil in May 2020.
It said higher exports of rubber products was underpinned by growing demand of rubber gloves which benefited from the pandemic.“This is despite the decline in exports of manufactured goods by 23.5% y-o-y to RM54.21bil.
“The contraction of manufactured goods which constituted 86.5% of total exports was due to lower exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products, petroleum products, manufactures of metal, chemicals and chemical products as well as machinery, equipment and parts.
Major exports in May 2020: E&E products, valued at RM23.5bil and constituted 37.5% of total exports, decreased by 19.9% from May 2019; petroleum products, RM3.94bil, 6.3% of total exports, decreased by 42.7%, ” it said.
MITI said total imports in May 2020 fell by 30.4% to RM52.27bil on-year.
The three main categories of imports by end use which accounted for 81.6% of total imports were:
Intermediate goods, valued at RM30.79bil or 58.9% share of total imports, decreased by 27.8%, due to lower imports of processed industrial supplies particularly plastics and articles.
Capital goods, valued at RM6.66bil or 12.7% of total imports, contracted by 27.8%, due mainly to lower imports of capital goods (except transport equipment), particularly machinery, mechanical appliances and parts.
Consumption goods, valued at RM5.18bil or 9.9% of total imports, declined by 21.9%, on account of lower imports of semi-durable goods, particularly footwear.
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