Friday, September 9, 2011

Malaysian trade still resilient, says Mustapa

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's trade performance from January to July continued to maintain a good trajectory, with trade expanding by 7.7% to RM724.09 billion compared with a year ago, said Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Trade data for January to July showed a 6.9% growth in exports and 8.7% growth in imports on-year. Total exports increased to RM396.35 billion while imports expanded to RM327.75 billion, he said.

"We have done reasonably well, but not as well as 2010," said Mustapa, adding that the country's resilient trade performance was due to Malaysia's diversified markets and broad product base.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Sept 9, Mustapa said that there was good export growth in all major markets except for Hong Kong and the US, attributing it to a lower rate of electrical and electronic equipment exports.

Looking forward, the government expects Malaysia's trade to grow but at a slower rate than the one recorded in 2010, he said.

"We are confident of achieving a 7% to 8% growth rate, but are unlikely to achieve figures like 10%. It is doable, but requires that the world economy improves,' he said.

Mustapa said'' the numbers reached were consistent with import figures, and due to consistent trade with Asia and Asean nations and a diverse product base, Malaysia would continue to perform resiliently.

Large regional economies such as China, India and Indonesia were expected to not only provide markets for the nation's exports, but also serve as a major source of investment, TECHNOLOGY [] and business partnership.

The nation recorded its 165th consecutive month of trade surplus in July, with exports and imports expanding at 7.1% and 2.9% compared with July last year. The main contributors to export growth are palm oil, liquid natural gas, chemicals and chemical products.

Other products supporting growth were crude petroleum, machiner, appliances and parts, and manufacturers of metal, rubber products, processed food and textiles and clothing.

Mustapa also said that the implementation of Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) projects would generate high value exports in the areas of E&E, oil and gas, medical products, engineering design, business services and creative content.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had on Thursday said the combined value of the ETP initiatives was now RM171.21 billion in investment, with RM228.55 billion in contribution to the gross national income.

The second half of 2011 is expected to see better trade performance with the year-end festive seasons as retailers begin to restock and manufacturers start inventory preparation, said Mustapa.

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