Malaysia Trade Balance January 2021


Malaysia: Merchandise exports grow for the fifth month running in January

February 26, 2021

Merchandise exports grew for the fifth successive month in January, rising 7.6% year-on-year in USD terms, but softening from December’s 2020 12.9% jump. Similarly, exports in ringgit terms expanded 6.6% in January, following December’s 10.8% increase. January’s reading reflected higher shipments for electrical and electronic products and skyrocketing exports of rubber products.

Moreover, merchandise imports grew 2.3% year-on-year in USD terms, below December’s 3.6% rise. As a result, the merchandise trade balance logged a USD 4.1 billion surplus in January (January 2020: USD 3.0 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend improved further, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 45.4 billion surplus in January, compared to the USD 44.2 billion surplus in December 2020.

Commenting on the trade outlook, Euben Paracuelles and Rangga Cipta, analysts at Nomura said:

“We still forecast a slight narrowing of the current account surplus to 3.6% of GDP in 2021 from 4.4% in 2020, driven by a smaller goods trade surplus and wider secondary income deficit. We also expect borders to remain shut for most of the year and the recovery in tourism to be slow.”

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project merchandise exports to grow 8.4% and imports to increase 12.2% in 2021, with the trade surplus rising to USD 40.8 billion. In 2022, our panelists see exports and imports expanding 9.5% and 10.9% respectively, with the trade surplus totaling USD 41.6 billion.


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Malaysia Trade Balance Chart

Malaysia Trade12m January 2021

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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