KUALA LUMPUR: Total trade in September 2018 rose 2.3 per cent to RM150.83 billion from RM147.51 billion a year ago, supported by an expansion in trade with Hong Kong, Asean, Taiwan, Australia, Saudi Arabia and the US.
Of this, exports continued to sustain a monthly value above RM80 billion in September, growing by 6.7 per cent to RM83.05 billion, while imports declined by 2.7 per cent to RM67.78 billion.
Following this, the trade surplus posted a double-digit growth of 85.9 per cent to RM15.26 billion, the largest trade surplus recorded since October 2008.
This marked the 251st consecutive month of trade surplus since November 1997.
On a January–September 2018 basis, trade was up 5.5 per cent to RM1.382 trillion from a year ago, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said in a statement.
Exports stood at RM733.61 billion, an increase of 6.3 per cent, while imports growth slowed at 4.7 per cent to RM647.89 billion.
As a result, the trade surplus for the nine-months period rose by 20.4 per cent to RM85.72 compared to the same period last year.
Overall, trade with Asean was up 3.6 per cent to RM373.63 billion, with China it posted a 8.4 per cent growth to RM230.64 billion and against the European Union (EU), was 8.1 per cent up to RM137.54 billion.
However, trade with the United States and Japan contracted by 0.9 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively.
Meanwhile, trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners accounted for 62.2 per cent, as trade with them grew 3.2 per cent to RM858.7 billion.
On a month-to-month basis, total trade contracted by 6.9 per cent as exports grew moderately by 1.5 per cent, while imports declined 15. 5 per cent.
Overall, the trade surplus grew 846.3 per cent.
MITI attributed the growth in September exports to an expansion in manufactured and mining goods of 7.9 per cent to RM70.32 billion.
This accounted for 84.7 per cent of total exports with the contribution of export products such as electrical and electronics, chemical and chemicals, iron and steel, as well as optical and scientific equipment.
This was followed by mining goods, which grew by 17 per cent to RM6.53 billion.
As for September’s imports, all three main categories that accounted for 71.2 per cent of total numbers contracted, namely intermediate goods, capital goods and consumption goods by 9.3 per cent, 25.2 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
During the month, trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners accounted for 61.9 per cent as trade with them declined marginally by 0.3 per cent to RM93.4 billion.
Trade with markets such as Hong Kong and Taiwan expanded significantly by 48.7 per cent and 52.9 per cent respectively, on higher exports of electrical and electronic products.
Trade with China, the EU and Japan dropped by 0.9 per cent, 0.7 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively, while Asean and the US recorded moderate growth of three per cent and 3.3 per cent. — Bernama