Malaysia’s burgeoning trade performance has been a bright spot among Southeast Asian economies, Moody’s Analytics associate economist Sonia Zhu says.
She said exports surged 63% year-on-year (y-o-y), but that the strong growth rate was inflated by the low-base effect, when exports nosedived during the peak of the pandemic and the subsequent full lockdown last year.
But on an encouraging note, exports still rose 0.6% month-on-month (m-o-m), she added.
“As expected, the main contributor to exports was electrical and electronics products such as semiconductors and integrated circuits.
“Singapore and China remained the major countries of exports, totalling close to one-third of Malaysia’s total exports,” she said in a statement today.
Meanwhile imports increased 24.4% y-o-y and 5.4% m-o-m, exceeding expectations, with the increase broad-based across all three categories (intermediate goods, capital goods, and consumption goods).
Consumption goods increased due to higher imports of durable goods demanded during the Aidilfitri festive period, which lasts for one month from April to May, she added.
“An increase in intermediate goods and capital goods, which account for a total of 65% of import value, is a welcome sign that Malaysia is ramping up manufacturing production for exports.
“Despite battling with record high Covid-19 infections domestically, all manufacturing plants are still operating at above 50% capacity,” she said.
Zhu also said Malaysia plays an integral role in the global supply chain and continues to benefit from higher global demand.