Malaysia Trade Balance December 2020


Malaysia: Merchandise exports grow markedly in December

February 4, 2021

Merchandise exports increased 13.0% in annual and USD terms in December, above November’s 5.3% increase and rising for the fourth successive month. Similarly, export growth in ringgit terms accelerated to 10.8% in December from November’s 4.6%, beating market expectations of 6.6%. December’s upturn was chiefly driven by higher shipments of manufactured goods and agricultural goods.

Similarly, merchandise imports grew 3.6% year-on-year in USD terms, bouncing back from November’s 8.3% dive. As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved, logging a USD 5.1 billion surplus in December (December 2019: USD 3.0 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend improved notably, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 44.2 billion surplus in December, compared to the USD 42.2 billion surplus in November.

Commenting on the trade outlook, Sian Fenner, lead Asia economist at Oxford Economics said:

“Positive news on vaccines provides some upside risk, but uncertainties remain around vaccine distribution. The pace of exports recovery is likely to remain bumpy due to uneven global demand. Protracted travel bans will continue to weigh very heavily on tourism and exports of services. We expect total export volumes to rise 6.8% in 2021, following a 9.1% contraction in 2020.”

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project merchandise exports to grow 12% and imports to increase 11.2% in 2021, with the trade surplus rising to USD 39.5 billion. In 2022, our panelists see exports and imports expanding 8.4% and 9.7% respectively, with the trade surplus totaling USD 40.1 billion.


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Malaysia Trade Balance Chart

Malaysia Trade12m December 20 20 0

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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