Miti confirms largest trade surplus in past 23 years


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s external trade performance last year recorded the largest trade surplus in a row for 23 years, despite disruptions to the global supply chain, says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (pic).

The International Trade and Industry Minister, in a statement, noted that exports in December were also the highest monthly value recorded for 2020.

“Exports to China recorded a new high in 2020 and similar momentum was reported for the United States which posted the largest value in the last decade.

“There was significant export growth to the emerging markets, notably Costa Rica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

“Rubber products, electrical and electronics products, as well as palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, registered strong export expansion.

“Malaysia’s trade performance was in tandem with countries in the region.

“Malaysia’s trade surplus in 2020 recorded the fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth, with an expansion of 26.9% to RM184.79bil compared to 2019.

“This was also the largest trade surplus thus far, representing Malaysia’s achievement in sustaining trade surplus for 23 consecutive years since 1998.

“Malaysia’s exports in 2020, valued at RM980.99bil, declined marginally by 1.4% compared to the preceding year, in tandem with the unfavourable external environment due to the impact of the pandemic.

“Exports rebounded in the second half of 2020, increasing by 4.8%.

“This was a significant improvement from a 7.9% contraction in the first half of 2020 as the economy progressively reopened and external demand gradually recovered.

“Total trade in 2020 amounted to RM1.777 trillion, contracting by 3.6% compared to 2019, while imports totalled RM796.19bil, a decline of 6.3%, ” stated Mohamed Azmin.

He said the recent signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in November 2020 and Moody’s favourable ratings of Malaysia had also bolstered trade.

“Investor confidence has been bolstered by Moody’s latest affirmation of Malaysia’s local and foreign currency long-term issuer ratings at A3, with a stable outlook.

“This is a testament to the government’s strong fiscal discipline and robust medium-term growth prospects and demonstrates Moody’s confidence in Malaysia as having strong credit standing.

“While these are challenging times, the government’s priority is to place the nation firmly on the path of economic recovery, particularly with the 12th Malaysian Plan as the blueprint for sustainable growth founded on sound economic fundamentals and decisive policy measures.

“This bodes well for greater and more robust trade performance, ” said Mohamed Azmin.

China remained as Malaysia’s largest export destination, with exports expanding by 12.5% to RM158.6bil. Exports to China contributed 16.2% to Malaysia’s total exports in 2020.

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