Malaysia sees record trade in 2011
Thursday, February 09, 2012 - 18:33
The International Trade and Industry Ministry said exports grew to RM695 billion, up 8.7% year-on-year, largely due to a nearly 14% hike in shipments to China's resource-hungry economy, the world's second-largest.
Imports also grew 8.6% to RM574 billion, taking overall trade to a record RM1.27 trillion, up nearly 9.0%.
The figures – and China's growing impact – come amid fears that weakness in US and European markets would hit Malaysia's trade-dependent economy.
The Southeast Asian nation relies heavily on exports of commodities such as palm oil and energy products as well as some manufactured goods.
"Malaysia’s trade performance for the year remained strong despite the slow economic recovery in the US" and other global uncertainties, the ministry said in a statement accompanying the data.
Exports to Asia grew by 11.2% and accounted for 71.3% of overall exports in 2011, it said.
December exports rose 6.1% year-on-year to RM60.74 billion, the highest level ever recorded for that month, it added.
China overtook Malaysia's neighbour Singapore as the top export market in 2011. Other key markets included Australia, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea.
The ministry said China, Southeast Asia and India would continue to be "major drivers of export growth" in 2012.
China remained Malaysia's largest overall trading partner for the third year, accounting for 13.2% of total trade. It was followed by Singapore, Japan and the United States.