News & Events

Trade Performance For May 2020 and the Period of January – May 2020

Highest Monthly Trade Surplus for May since 2008

In May 2020, Malaysia recorded a trade surplus above RM10 billion for the fourth time in 2020, registering a double-digit growth of 14.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM10.41 billion. This was the highest monthly trade surplus for the month of May since May 2008.

Trade in May 2020 amounted to RM114.96 billion, a decrease of 27.8% compared to May 2019. Lower trade was recorded particularly with Singapore, Thailand, India, China, Japan and Indonesia. 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 RM62.69 billion, contracted by 25.5% while imports decreased by 30.4% to RM52.27 billion.

Compared to April 2020, trade, exports and imports slipped by 13.7%, 3.2% and 23.6%, respectively.
Malaysia’s trade during the first five months of 2020 declined by 8.7% to RM688.57 billion compared to the corresponding period of 2019. Lower trade was recorded with Thailand, Singapore, India, China and Hong Kong SAR. Meanwhile, higher trade was registered with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Indonesia. Exports during the period registered a decrease of 9.7% to RM366.16 billion and imports contracted by 7.5% to RM322.41 billion. Trade surplus was valued at RM43.75 billion, declined by 23% compared to the same period of 2019.

Export Performance of Major Sectors

Demand for Rubber Products Surged due to COVID-19
Exports of rubber products especially rubber gloves registered a double-digit growth for 2 consecutive months, increasing 20.5% or RM461 million in May 2020. Higher exports of rubber products was underpinned by growing demand of rubber gloves which benefitted from the pandemic. This is despite the decline in exports of manufactured goods by 23.5% y-o-y to RM54.21 billion. 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.

Exports of agriculture goods (7.9% share) decreased by 21.3% to RM4.94 billion due to lower exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products compared to May 2019.

Exports of mining goods (5.1% share) dropped by 49.1% y-o-y to RM3.22 billion. This was mainly due to lower exports of crude petroleum and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Major exports in May 2020:
– E&E products, valued at RM23.5 billion and constituted 37.5% of total exports, decreased by 19.9% from May 2019;
– Petroleum products, RM3.94 billion, 6.3% of total exports, decreased by 42.7%;
Chemicals and chemical products, RM3.68 billion, 5.9% of total exports, decreased by 24.2%;
– Palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, RM3.6 billion, 5.8% of total exports, decreased by 15.6%; and
– Rubber products, RM2.71 billion, 4.3% of total exports, increased by 20.5%. Compared to April 2020, exports of manufactured goods and mining goods reduced by
2.1% and 29.4%, respectively while exports of agriculture goods expanded by 5%.
For the first five months of 2020, exports of manufactured goods contracted by 8.5% to RM311.36 billion compared to the same period a year ago. Lower exports was recorded for E&E products, manufactures of metal, chemicals and chemical products as well as machinery, equipment and parts. However, exports of iron and steel products, other manufactures especially solid-state storage devices (SSD), transport equipment and rubber products registered a double-digit growth.
Exports of agriculture goods slipped by 6.9% to RM25.42 billion underpinned by lower exports of sawn timber and moulding, natural rubber as well as palm oil and palm oil- based agriculture products. Exports of mining goods contracted by 21.4% to RM27.45 billion mainly due to lower exports of LNG and crude petroleum.

Trade Performance with Major Markets
ASEAN – Palm Oil & Palm Oil-Based Agriculture Products and LNG Grew y-o-y despite Overall Decline in

Exports
Trade with ASEAN in May 2020 contracted by 35.6% y-o-y to RM28.11 billion, accounting for 24.5% share of Malaysia’s total trade. Exports to ASEAN edged down by 30.6% to RM17.19 billion partly due to lower exports of petroleum products, E&E products, iron and steel products, manufactures of metal and crude petroleum. However, higher exports was recorded for palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products and LNG. Imports from ASEAN declined by 42.2% to RM10.92 billion.
Breakdown of exports to ASEAN countries:

– Singapore
– Thailand
– Viet Nam
– Indonesia
– Philippines
– Myanmar
– Brunei
– Cambodia
– Lao PDR

RM8.9 billion, decreased by 21.9% RM3.14 billion, ↓40%

RM2.16 billion, ↓34.1%

RM1.44 billion, ↓37.5%

RM929 million, ↓48.6% RM310.3 million, ↑32.7% RM188 million, ↓4.5% RM116.1 million, ↓62.8% RM5.9 million, ↑114.3%

Compared to the previous month, trade, exports and imports dipped by 7.1%, 10.7% and 0.9%, respectively.
During January to May 2020, trade with ASEAN decreased by 13.9% to RM173.68 billion compared to the same period last year. Exports to this region was valued at RM106.19 billion, a decline of 9.7% owing to lower exports of E&E products, crude petroleum, manufactures of metal as well as machinery, equipment and parts. Nevertheless, higher exports was recorded for transport equipment, iron and steel products, palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products and petroleum products which collectively increased by RM4.26 billion. Imports from ASEAN declined by 19.8% to RM67.49 billion.

China – Exports Continued to Rise in May 2020

In May 2020, trade with China which represented 20.7% of Malaysia’s total trade or RM23.75 billion, decreased by 10.6% y-o-y. Exports to China continued to expand for 2 consecutive months, rising by 4.5% to RM11.78 billion. This was led by exports of manufactured goods which grew by 9.1% mainly due to higher exports of petroleum products, iron and steel products as well as other manufactures (SSD). Imports from China slipped by 21.7% to RM11.96 billion.

On a month-on-month (m-o-m) basis, trade, exports and imports contracted by 9.5%, 2.4% and 15.6%.
Trade with China for the first five months of 2020 stood at RM120.48 billion, declined by 3.8% compared to the same period of 2019. Exports to China increased by 1.1% to RM54.65 billion, driven by higher exports of iron and steel products, other manufactures (SSD), manufactures of metal, optical and scientific equipment as well as palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products. Imports from China dropped by 7.5% to RM65.83 billion.

USA – Double Digit Export Growth for Rubber & Wood products
Trade with the US in May 2020 which constituted 10.7% of Malaysia’s total trade decreased by 12.5% y-o-y to RM12.26 billion. Exports to the US declined by 9.3% to RM7.09 billion, weighed down by lower exports of E&E products, palm oil and palm oil- based agriculture products, optical and scientific equipment as well as textiles, apparels and footwear. Double-digit export growth were recorded for rubber products and wood products. Imports from the US contracted by 16.4% to RM5.16 billion.In comparison with April 2020, trade and exports were higher by 14.8% and 33.4%, respectively while imports declined by 3.6%.

During January to May 2020, trade with the US contracted marginally by 0.3% to RM64.99 billion compared to the same period last year. Exports decreased by 2.8% to RM36.4 billion attributed to lower exports of E&E products, optical and scientific equipment as well as iron and steel products. Expansion in exports was seen for wood products, rubber products and other manufactures (SSD). Imports from the US increased by 3% to RM28.59 billion.

EU – Exports Expanded for Commodity-Based Products
In May 2020, trade with the European Union (EU) which contributed 8.7% to Malaysia’s total trade registered a decrease of 29.8% y-o-y to RM10.01 billion. Exports amounted to RM5.62 billion, contracted by 25.4% due to lower exports of E&E products, optical and scientific equipment, machinery, equipment and parts as well as transport equipment. Meanwhile, higher exports were recorded for commodity-based products, notably, rubber products, palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products as well as petroleum products. Imports from the EU was valued at RM4.39 billion, lower by 34.8%.

Compared to April 2020, trade and exports increased by 6.3% and 17.8%, respectively while imports fell by 5.5%.

Trade with the EU for January to May 2020 decreased by 19.6% to RM55.31 billion. Exports amounted to RM31.05 billion, declined by 18% due to lower exports of E&E products, machinery, equipment and parts as well as manufactures of metal. However, exports of petroleum products, palm oil and palm oil-based products as well as rubber products recorded increases. Imports from the EU slipped by 21.5% to RM24.26 billion.

Japan – Exports of Commodity-Based Products Grew

In May 2020, trade with Japan contracted by 25.9% y-o-y to RM7.97 billion and accounted for 6.9% of Malaysia’s total trade. Exports declined by 33% to RM4.01 billion owing to lower exports of LNG, E&E products, manufactures of metal and wood products. However, expansion in exports was recorded for commodity-based products particularly, crude petroleum and rubber products. Imports from Japan decreased by 16.9% to RM3.96 billion.

On a m-o-m basis, trade and imports decreased by 7.2% and 16%, respectively while exports inched up by 3.7%.

For the first five months of 2020, trade with Japan decreased by 8.4% to RM49.89 billion in comparison to the same period of 2019. Exports slipped by 11.7% to RM25.93 billion, contributed by lower exports of E&E products, LNG, manufactures of metal and wood products. Meanwhile, exports of crude petroleum, palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, rubber products as well as optical and scientific equipment registered increases. Imports from Japan was lower by 4.4% to RM23.96 billion.

Trade with FTA Partners

Embargo until 1200 hours, Monday, 29th June 2020
In May 2020, trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners which made up 66.4% of Malaysia’s total trade recorded a decline of 28.4% y-o-y to RM76.3 billion. Exports to FTA partners was valued at RM42.76 billion, a decrease of 26.3% and imports was lower by 31% to RM33.54 billion.

Compared to the previous month, trade, exports and imports declined by 20%, 9.3% and 30.4%, respectively.
Trade with FTA partners for the first five months of 2020 which constituted 67% of Malaysia’s total trade amounted to RM461.37 billion, decreased by 8% compared to the same period of 2019. Exports contracted by 9.2% to RM252.16 billion while imports declined by 6.4% to RM209.22 billion.

Import Performance
Total imports in May 2020 decreased by 30.4% to RM52.27 billion from May 2019. The three main categories of imports by end use which accounted for 81.6% of total imports were:

– Intermediate goods, valued at RM30.79 billion 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 RM6.66 billion 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; and

– Consumption goods, valued at RM5.18 billion or 9.9% of total imports, declined by 21.9%, on account of lower imports of semi-durable goods, particularly footwear.

During January to May 2020, imports amounted to RM322.41 billion, decreased by 7.5% from the same period of 2019. Imports of intermediate goods totalled RM175.14 billion, decreased by 8.2%, capital goods (RM39.08 billion, ↓6.9%) and consumption goods (RM28.78 billion, ↓4.8%).