KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 – Malaysia’s trade last year had recovered to almost the levels reached before the 2008 global financial crisis but is expected to slow this year said the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) today.
Malaysia’s total trade grew 18.4 per cent last year to hit RM1.17 trillion, just shy of the RM1.8 trillion in trade done in 2008.
The ministry said in its 2010 International Trade and Industry report released today however that based on the global economic and trade outlook, Malaysia trade in 2011 is expected to grow but at a slower pace.
China was Malaysia’s top trading partner for a second year in a row, accounting for 12.6 per cent or 147 billion in trade.
This was followed by Singapore, Japan, US and Thailand, with the top five countries accounting for 52.2 per cent or RM610.17 billion of Malaysia’s international trade.
The north east asia region was Malaysia’s largest export destination at RM223.93 billion, followed by the Asean countries at RM162.45 billion, the EU at RM68.69 billion and North America at RM64.09 billion.
Malaysia’s main exports to North-East Asia comprised electrical and electronic products followed by liquified natural gas, chemicals and chemical products, palm oil and optical and scientific equipment which made up 74.7 per cent of exports.
Electrical and electronic components also made up the bulk of Malaysia’s exports to Asean countries at 32.9 per cent of exports.
Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said in a press conference following the release of the report that exports this year are expected to grow by about 10 per cent to about RM700 billion from RM639 billion last year.
He added that this year’s foreign direct investment (FDI) is expected to exceed last year’s RM29 billion “by a bit more” but declined to provide more detailed figures.
The MITI report which used Asean secretariat and UN Conference on Trade and Development figures showed that Malaysia had the third highest FDI among Asean countries in 2010 at US$7 billion (RM21 billion) after Indonesia (RM38.4 billion) and Singapore (RM112.2 billion).
Mustapa noted the concern surrounding the environmental impact of planned foreign investment such as the rare earth refinery in Gebeng and the Vale iron ore distribution plant in Perak but said that the government understands the concerns of the public and would monitor the projects on a regular basis.