Malaysia's trade, exports return to expansion in January

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's trading activity with its major trading partners bounced back in January, chalking up 13.3% growth to RM234.73bil, its first month of expansion after 10 consecutive months of year-on-year (y-o-y) contraction.

In a statement, the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (Miti) said the January trade value - bolstered by increased trading activity with Asean, the US, the EU and Japan - was the highest monthly value recorded for January.

Underpinning the expansion, the country's exports rose 8.7% y-o-y to RM122.43bil while imports jumped 18.8% to RM112.3bil. The trade surplus narrowed 44.2% over the previous year to RM10.12bil..

"The export growth was boosted by higher shipments of petroleum products, machinery, equipment and parts, iron and steel products as well as manufactures of metal," said Miti.

On a month-on-month (m-o-m) basis, total trade, exports and imports were up 4.3%, 3.4% and 5.3% respectively. The trade surplus was down 13.8% over December 2023.

By destination, trade with China rose 6.9% to RM39.57bil although exports to Malaysia's largest trading partners fell 7.4% to RM13.87bil as a result of lower exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products.

Trade with Asean markets picked up 17.4% to RM64.87bil. Markets in the region that received more exports from Malaysia included Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines which all saw double-digit increases in shipment value. due to strong exports of petroleum products.

Meanwhile, trade with the US saw double-digit growth of 18.2% with exports jumping 11.9% to RM13.48bil on shipments of E&E products, iron and steel products as well as wood products.

On imports, intermediate goods increased 21.4% to RM58.79bil due to higher imports of processed industrial supplies and capital goods surged 41.8% to RM13.72bil due to higher imports of non-transport capital goods.

Consumptions goods expanded 25.4% to RM10.34bil due to higher imports of processed food and beverages mainly for household consumption.

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