Malaysia Trade January 2019


Malaysia: Exports drop sharply in February

March 4, 2019

Exports fell a steep 9.9% year-on-year in February in USD terms, down from January’s 0.6% drop. The result came on the back of a marked contraction in foreign demand for palm oil and palm oil-based products as well as refined petroleum products. On the other hand, electrical and electronic products exports grew robustly. In ringgit terms, exports fell 5.3% year-on-year.

Imports, meanwhile, dropped 13.8% year-on-year in February in USD terms, down from the 2.7% contraction in January. This reflected a broad-based deterioration, with inbound shipments of the three major categories dropping. The most noticeable fall was recorded in capital goods imports followed by consumption goods imports. Imports of intermediate goods recorded a small drop. In ringgit terms, imports fell 9.4% year-on-year.

Consequently, the trade surplus narrowed from USD 2.8 billion in January to USD 2.7 billion in February, but the sum is up from the USD 2.3 billion surplus logged in February 2018. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus, meanwhile, widened to USD 30.6 billion from USD 30.3 billion.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports and imports to grow 3.6% and 3.6% respectively in 2019, with the trade surplus reaching USD 27.4 billion. In 2020, they see export and import growth at 6.2% and 5.4% respectively, with the trade surplus narrowing to USD 30.9 billion.

Author:, Economist

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Malaysia Trade Chart

Malaysia Trade12m January 2019 1

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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