KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 ― Malaysia registered a trade increase of three per cent to RM1.31 trillion last year but fell short of the official forecast of between 4 and 4.5 per cent, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) announced today.
“A very important dimension of 2012 was that imports went up higher than exports,” MITI’s minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed told reporters here.
The trade surplus remained high at RM94.8 billion, continuing a 15-year streak dating back to November 1997.
Imports grew to RM607.36 billion (5.9 per cent), while exports rose to RM702.19 billion (0.6 per cent).
Manufactured goods made up the bulk of exports in 2012, at RM470.39 billion (67 per cent), while electrical and electronic products led imports by 28.8 per cent at RM175 billion.
Major trading partners for Malaysia were in Asia, chiefly China, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and India.
China was the country’s top trading partner last year, with trade increasing by eight per cent to RM180.61 billion. Manufactured goods made up 70 per cent of exports to the nation.
Singapore stayed the leading destination for exports, taking up 13.6 per cent of the total. Combined trade value was RM175.96 billion, with exports increasing by 8.3 per cent to RM95.48 billion.
Malaysia showed encouraging double digit growth in exports to many emerging markets, with deliveries to Cote d’Ivoire increasing by 182.8 per cent, Mozambique (164.8 per cent), and Sudan (148 per cent).
The positive trend in trade is expected to continue in 2013, with exports predicted to increase by two to four per cent for goods, and six to seven per cent for services.
Imports are set to increase five to eight per cent for goods, and eight to nine per cent for services.