Wednesday 24 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 18): Malaysia’s trade performance in 2022 surpassed RM2 trillion for the second consecutive year and registered the fastest growth since 1994, with exports expanding 25% to RM1.55 trillion.

Imports breached RM1 trillion for the first time, jumping by 31.3% to RM1.29 trillion.

Minister of International Trade and Industry Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz said the trade surplus increased by 0.6% to RM255 billion, representing the 25th consecutive year of trade surplus since 1998.

“In 2022, Malaysia’s trade continued to demonstrate a remarkable performance and registered another record-breaking achievement with trade, exports, imports, and trade surplus soaring to a new high,” he said in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 18).

He noted that this was “a positive reflection that the nation’s trade performance is on an upward trajectory, boosted by higher external demand and strong commodity prices”.

“In terms of markets, exports to major trading partners, notably Asean, China, the United States (US), the European Union (EU) and Japan, registered a new record high,” he added.

Trade with Malaysia’s important and strategic trading partner Asean rose by 34% to RM772 billion from the previous year, while trade with Asean accounted for 27.1% of Malaysia’s total trade in 2022.

Zafrul said significant export growth was also recorded in emerging markets, notably Egypt, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Togo, Djibouti, and Afghanistan, while exports to free trade agreement (FTA) partners registered the highest value thus far.

“Meanwhile, exports to markets under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement posted double-digit expansion.

“Exports of manufactured, agriculture and mining sectors registered an all-time high with double-digit growth,” he noted.

The growth was driven by robust exports of electrical and electronic products, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, palm oil and palm oil-based products, crude petroleum, as well as machinery, equipment and parts with each product segment recording over a RM10 billion increase with double-digit growth.

“All these products also posted the highest export value ever, except crude petroleum,” he said.

“Despite the challenging global landscape, we will continue to enhance the promotion of international trade and exports to reinforce business resilience and sustain the economic growth momentum,” the minister added.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) said in the same statement that for December 2022, Malaysia’s trade remained sturdy, with trade, export and imports registering new record highs for the month, in which trade rose by 8.6% to RM236.02 billion compared to December 2021.

“Exports increased by 6% to RM131.89 billion and imports were higher by 12% to RM104.13 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of RM27.76 billion, a decrease of 11.8%,” it noted. 

On the outlook for 2023, Miti expects Malaysia’s trade performance to grow at a softer pace, in tandem with the outlook by World Trade Organisation (WTO), which anticipated global trade to grow by 1%. 

“In 2023, Malaysia’s trade is expected to grow by 1.3%, while exports and imports are estimated to increase by 2.2% and 0.2% respectively, as reported by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) in its Economic Outlook 2023,” it said.

The ministry said inflationary pressures, prolonged geopolitical tensions, exporters’ capacity in meeting environmental, social and governance (ESG) market demands, disruptions in global supply chains, and volatility in commodity prices would weigh on trade.

“Nevertheless, continuous demand for manufactured goods, especially electrical and electronic products, will support trade growth due to technological advancement,” it added.

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