MALAYSIA’S trade export numbers this year are expected to remain in the double digit although there may be some slowing down towards the end of the year.
International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said the trade export numbers for August was expected to be strong.
“The (August) numbers will be out in a few days. These numbers are strong and are expected to remain so for a couple more months. Towards the end of the year, there will probably be some deceleration in growth but overall, the numbers will be strong this year,” said Mustapa on the sustainability of the country’s double digit export growth.
Mustapa, who today officiated at the opening of US company Honeywell’s Asean regional headquarters, said electric and electronics (E&E) exports were expected to stay robust.
Malaysia recorded a total trade of RM1.008 trillion in the first seven months of the year. Exports grew by 22.3% to RM529.68 billion, while imports rose by 23% at RM478.71 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of RM50.97 billion.
E&E exports in July posted a value of RM27.91 billion, ahead of petroleum products at RM7.09 billion, chemicals and chemical products at RM5.72 billion, palm oil and palm oil-based agricultural products at RM4.46 billion, and liquefied natural gas at RM3.79 billion.
On the US-Malaysia budget deficit, Mustapa said the issue was under discussion with both sides looking beyond the difference in numbers.
However, there was a reason for the reported US$25 billion (RM107 billion) trade deficit, he said.
“We have to say the world economy and a large number of US companies are doing business here. They are exporting a lot to the world and not just to America.
“At the same time we also import products from America. So first we get the numbers and explain the reason for the difference. And then we try to understand why there is a gap and finally, what can be done to reduce the gap,” Mustapa.
He said Malaysia Airlines Bhd and AirAsia’s recent purchases of Boeing aircraft and GE engines, respectively, amounting to US$10 billion would help to bridge the trade deficit.
The Trump administration recently named the countries that were to blame for the US’ US$50 billion trade deficit.
The US’ goods trade deficit with Malaysia stood at US$25 billion last year, exporting aircraft, medical instruments and electrical machinery, but importing similar goods as well as rubber, furniture, and bedding, said the US Trade Representative office
On his wish list for the upcoming budget, Mustapa said he hoped for a budget that supported the promotion of trade. – October 2, 2017.