KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s total trade grew by 1.5 per cent to reach RM1.49 trillion in 2016 compared with RM1.46 trillion in the previous year, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said on Wednesday.
He said exports rose by 1.1 per cent to RM785.93 billion and imports grew by 1.9 per cent to RM698.66 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of RM87.27 billion, the 19th consecutive year of trade surplus since 1998. Mustapa said ASEAN’s share of Malaysia’s total exports expanded to 29.4 per cent in 2016 from 28.2 per cent in 2015, the highest share since 1993.
“Specifically in December 2016, Malaysia’s total trade recorded a double-digit growth of 11.1 per cent to RM142.39 billion compared with a year ago,” he said at a press conference here Wednesday.
He said exports in December 2016 expanded by 10.7 per cent year-on-year to RM75.55 billion, the highest value in 2016 with manufactured goods continued to support Malaysia’s exports.
Explaining in details, he said, the increase in total trade in 2016 was contributed by higher trade with China, which expanded by RM10.09 billion, United States (US) (RM6.87 billion), South Korea (RM3.56 billion), Taiwan (RM3.29 billion) and Saudi Arabia (RM3.04 billion).
The minister said significant increases were also recorded with Turkey amounting to RM2.81 billion, Hong Kong (RM1.93 billion), India (RM1.85 billion), Mexico (RM1.64 billion), Brazil (RM1.52 billion), Bangladesh (RM1.48 billion), ASEAN (RM1.41 billion) and the European Union (EU)(RM549.6 million).
He said the major contributors to export growth in 2016 were expansion of manufactured and agricultural exports by 3.2 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively, compensating for the lower performance of mining goods.
The continued growth for electrical and electronics (E&E) exports were driven by strong global demand for electronic devices and rising exports to ASEAN by 5.4 per cent with significant growth to Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam countries and the Philippines also spurred exports.
Mustapa said ASEAN remained as an important and strategic trading partner for Malaysia, taking up RM230.93 billion of Malaysia’s exports in 2016, an increase of 5.4 per cent.
In terms of trade, ASEAN accounted for 27.1 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade in 2016, with a value of RM402.66 billion, an increase of 0.4 per cent, he said.
Mustapa said the increase in exports was led by manufactured goods which expanded by RM12.97 billion or 6.7 per cent.
The exports of manufactured goods accounted for 89.1 per cent in 2016 compared with 87.9 per cent in 2015, he said.
“The expansion in this sector was contributed by higher exports of E&E products, petroleum products, manufactures of metal, processed food, transport equipment, chemicals and chemical products, machinery, equipment and parts as well as textiles,” he said.
Among the ASEAN countries, Singapore remained the largest export market with a share of 49.6 per cent of total exports to ASEAN.
“China continued to be the largest trading partner with Malaysia for the eighth consecutive year since 2009. In 2016, Malaysia’s trade with China increased by 4.4 per cent to RM240.91 billion,” said Mustapa.
Trade with the EU increased by 0.4 per cent to RM149.05 billion. Malaysia’s exports to the EU were higher by 1.2 per cent to RM79.84 billion.
Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Belgium remained the top five export destinations in the region, accounting for 78.8 per cent of Malaysia’s total exports to the EU, he said.
The country also maintained sturdy export performance to the US with an increase of 8.9 per cent to RM80.23 billion.
“Trade with the US expanded by 5.3 per cent to RM135.88 billion in 2016,” he said. In 2016, Malaysia’s exports to South Asia grew by 6.9 per cent to RM45.39 billion, after a decline of 0.9 per cent in 2015.
Trade with South Asia rose by 7.4 per cent to RM63.8 billion in 2016 and imports increased by 8.6 per cent to RM18.4 billion, he said.
In 2016, other promising markets with significant growth in exports were Mexico, increased by RM1.59 billion, attributed mainly to E&E products, Tanzania (RM264.2 million, palm oil and palm-based agriculture products) and Nigeria (RM201.9 million, petroleum products), he said.