Malaysia Trade Balance April 2020

Malaysia

Malaysia: Merchandise exports contract at the quickest pace in over a decade in April

June 4, 2020

Merchandise exports plunged 27.8% in annual USD terms in April, down from March’s 8.9% fall and marking the sharpest drop since July 2009. In ringgit terms, exports declined 23.8% in April (March: -4.7% year-on-year).

April’s contraction was largely driven by a sharp fall in exports of electrical and electronic products, and refined petroleum products, while shipments of timber and timber-based products plunged by nearly half. Looking at Malaysia’s top export markets, demand from China increased, whereas shipments to Singapore dropped markedly.

Imports also experienced a sharp downturn in the month, contracting 12.8% year-on-year in USD terms (March: -7.0% yoy). In ringgit terms, imports fell 8.0% in April (March: -2.7% yoy). The drop was due to plunging imports of consumption goods and intermediate goods. On the other hand, imports of capital goods jumped in the month.

As the decline in exports outpaced that of imports, the trade balance swung from a USD 2.9 billion surplus in March to a USD 0.8 billion deficit in April, thus marking the first monthly trade deficit since 1997. Meanwhile, the 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus fell to USD 29.6 billion in April from USD 33.0 billion in March.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports to contract 9.5% and imports to decline 14.5% in 2020, with the trade surplus totaling USD 40.4 billion. In 2021, our panelists see export and import growth at 5.5% and 8.4% respectively, with the trade surplus narrowing to USD 37.6 billion.


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Malaysia Trade12m April 20 20

Note: 12-month trade balance in USD billion and annual variation of the 12-month sum of exports and imports.
Source: Department of Statistics Malaysia (DSM) and FocusEconomics calculations.


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