Year-on-year, exports dropped by 6.8 percent year-on-year to MYR 77.7 billion in September 2019, worse than market consensus of a 0.1 percent fall , and the steepest drop since October 2016, after a 0.8 percent fall in the previous month. Sales decreased for electrical & electronic products (-12.2 percent); crude petroleum (-45.8 percent); liquefied natural gas/LNG (-1.8 percent); palm oil & palm oil-based products (-6.6 percent); refined petroleum products (-14.7 percent); and natural rubber (-4.8 percent. By contrast, outbound shipments increased for: timber and timber-based products (5.8 percent).
Among major trading partners, sales dropped to China (-3.0 percent), led by electrical & electronic products and refined petroleum product; Singapore (-11.7 percent), driven by electrical and electronic products;, while those to the YS increased by 6.5 percent.
Imports rose by 2.4 percent year-on-year to MYR 69.4 billion in September 2019, beating market expectations of a 1.1 percent gain and reversing from a 12.5 percent plunge in the previous month. Imports of intermediate goods grew 11.1 percent, mainly attributed to fuel & lubricants, primary (86.4 percent), parts & accessories of capital goods except transport equipment (7.9 percent), fuels & lubricants, processed, others (65.2 percent), and industrial supplies (36.3 percent). Also, imports of consumption goods went up 15.1 percent, mainly attributed to semi-durable (27.4 percent) and durable (32.9 percent), non-durable (12 percent) and food &beverages, processed (8.3 percent). In addition, arrivals of capital goods increased 7.3 percent, led by both capital goods capital goods except transport equipment (6.1 percent) and transport equipment, industrial (46.2 percent).
By country, purchases from China surged 9.7 percent, mainly due to refined petroleum (152.4 percent) and E & E products (4.6 percent). In contrast, arrivals fell from the ASEAN countries (-7.4 percent), and the US (-0.04 percent).
Considering the first nine months of the year, the country's trade balance recorded a surplus of USD 100.8 billion, compared with a surplus of USD 85.8 billion in the same period 2018.
Malaysia’s total trade is projected to grow moderately by 5 percent in 2019 from 5.9 percent in 2018 due to uncertainties in the global market.