KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — Malaysia’s import and exports are expected to grow by 13 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, in 2021 with an upside exports growth momentum, said AmBank Research.

Malaysia’s total trade amounted to RM1.777 trillion in 2020, with imports totalled RM796.19 billion and exports valued at RM980.99 billion. 

In a research note today, AmBank chief economist/head of research Anthony Dass said a low base, improved global economic and trade activities, a semiconductor upcycle, and firm commodity prices were the main drivers of exports in March 2021.

“A further upside to exports will be influenced by the progression of global vaccination rollouts and the spate of reopening of global borders. Also, our well diversified export base and strong trade linkages helped sustain gains in trade despite lingering uncertainties,” he added.

However, the downside risks could come from new COVID-19 variants, delays or less effective vaccines and geopolitical tensions that could slow the global recovery, he added.

In March, exports surged 31 per cent year-on-year to RM104.95 billion in March, the strongest expansion in nearly four years. It not only extended the double-digit growth of 17.6 per cent in February, but also surpassed the RM100 billion mark, a level not seen since July 2017.

Meanwhile, imports also grew at the highest rate since October 2017, up 19.2 per cent year-on-year to RM80.79 billion, while trade surplus widened to RM24.2 billion, the highest since July 2020, registering a double-digit growth of 96.1 per cent year-on-year.

For the first quarter of 2021, total trade expanded 14.8 per cent year-on-year to RM505.65 billion, with exports increasing 18.2 per cent year-on-year to RM282.14 billion, while imports rising 10.8 per cent year-on-year to RM223.51 billion.


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