KUALA LUMPUR: Gross exports are estimated to grow 3.9 per cent in 2019, while imports are anticipated to grow 4.1 per cent, said the Finance Ministry.
The Economic Outlook 2019 report released by the ministry yesterday said next year exports would be supported by continuous demand for manufactured goods coupled with a rebound in commodity exports, while imports would be supported by continued exports of intermediate goods and steady re-export activity.
“The manufactured exports are projected to grow four per cent attributed to higher demand, particularly for electrical and electronics (E&E) products; chemicals and chemical products; petroleum products; manufactures of metal; machinery, equipment and parts; as well as optical and scientific equipment,” it said.
The E&E sub-sector is forecast to expand 4.4 per cent, benefiting from the extensive use of semiconductors in the automotive industry and consumer electronics such as connected devices and smart appliances.
Meanwhile, exports of non-E&E products are anticipated to grow 3.7 per cent in line with favourable manufacturing activities in the region, said the ministry.
It said demand is expected to remain steady for organic chemicals and plastics in primary form as well as for machinery and parts.
As for petroleum products, the ministry said steady oil prices are anticipated to support exports of refined petroleum, while favourable demand for industrial metals will continue to spur exports of aluminium, copper and nickel.
In addition, high demand for advanced technology products bodes well for exports of optical and scientific equipment, particularly measuring, controlling and medical instruments.
The ministry said agriculture exports are forecast to rebound 5.4 per cent, supported by a recovery in prices and higher demand for crude palm oil (CPO) and natural rubber.
“Increased shipments of CPO and natural rubber to major trading partners are expected to provide further impetus for growth in the sector,” it said.
The ministry said imports of intermediate goods are expected to rebound 4.2 per cent and continue to support manufacturing activities.
Imports for re-export are expected to continue to grow strongly, driven by the relocation of distribution hubs by multinational companies into Malaysia, it noted.
In 2018, gross imports are forecast to expand at a moderate pace of four per cent weighed down by a contraction in imports of intermediate goods at 4.6 per cent, while gross exports are projected to expand 4.4 per cent led by continued demand for manufactured goods. — Bernama