Malaysia’s total trade up 4.6% to RM1.36 trillion in 2013

Malaysia’s total trade up 4.6% to RM1.36 trillion in 2013

Despite a tough external environment, Malaysia’s trade last year expanded by 4.6% to RM1.36 trillion from RM1.309 trillion in 2012, boosted by a better export performance.

Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the trade surplus last year amounted to RM70.63 billion, which was the 16th consecutive year of trade surplus.

Malaysia’s exports in 2013 grew by 2.4% or RM17.17 billion to RM719.81 billion, boosted by better second half performance.

Exports expanded by 8.9% in the second half of 2013, compensating for a lacklustre first half performance.

The strong export growth of 14.4% in December 2013 marked the sixth consecutive month of export growth since July 2013, he told a press conference.

Mustapa said major contributors to the upbeat performance were strong uptake by Asean countries, improved demand from European Union (EU) members, growth in export of manufacturing and mining sectors and higher imports by free trade agreement partners.

Other major contributors are higher electrical and electronic exports driven by new applications of semi-conductors and rising demand for other manufactured exports such as medical devices, manufactures of metal, chemicals and chemical products as well as machinery, appliances and parts.

The minister said China remained Malaysia’s largest trading partner for the fifth consecutive year since 2009, with trade between both countries expanding by 12.5% to RM203.23 billion, he said.

He said exports to China increased by 9.2% to RM96.97 billion while imports from China improved by 15.7% to RM106.26 billion.

Mustapa said trade with the EU increased by 6.3% to RM135.79 billion, with exports rising by 5% to RM65.29 billion and imports were up 7.6% to RM70.5 billion.

-– Bernama, February 2014.