Mustapa (right) -- Trade on the rise.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia recorded a trade surplus of RM9.63 billion in September, with exports up by 16.6 per cent compared to the same period last year.
"Total trade rose by 14.9 per cent to RM107.73 billion," Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said in a statement Friday when announcing the country's external trade statistics.
Imports were also up, by 12.9 per cent to RM49.05 billion.
On a nine-month basis, the country posted a trade surplus of RM89.22 billion, with total trade expanding by 8.6 per cent to RM937.97 billion. Exports increased by 8.3 per cent to RM513.59 billion while imports rose by 8.9 per cent to RM424.37 billion.
The top export destinations for the period were mainly in Asia.
In term of imports for the period, the main categories by end-use were intermediate goods valued at RM288.78 billion or 68 per cent of total imports, capital goods at RM57.62 billion or 13.6 per cent of total imports, and consumption goods at RM29.64 billion or seven per cent of total imports.
Imports were mainly to meet the requirements for investment related projects, industrial production as well as infrastructure development needs.
Mustapa said the main sources of imports were other Asian countries, the United States and Germany.
On a quarterly basis, total trade in the third quarter was higher by 2.8 per cent at RM322.91 billion. Both imports and exports grew by 3.4 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively.
According to Mustapa, exports fared better last month.
He said that from manufacturing to commodities, almost all major sectors recorded increases in exports in September. Total exports in September grew by RM8.36 billion, of which 50 per cent was contributed by the growth in manufactured exports.
Exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products in September increased by RM510 million or 2.6 per cent from September last year, contributed by higher exports of integrated circuits and transistors.
Other E&E exports that grew were telecommunications equipment and parts, telephone sets and storage units for Automatic Data Processing (ADP) machines.
The growth in the September E&E exports was seen to China, Singapore and France.
The export of E&E products to Thailand expanded by 8.4 per cent or RM64.2 million in September, due to higher exports of parts and accessories for ADP, cathode ray tubes and TV reception apparatus.
However, E&E exports to Thailand for October and November 2011 is expected to decline owing to the flood situation in the country.
E&E exports from January to September this year declined by 5.5 per cent compared with the corresponding period of 2010, valued at RM177.25 billion.
During this period, Mustapa said that all other major manufactured exports recorded increases.
Mustapa noted that rising prices coupled with continued demand for the major commodities, elevated September's exports by RM3.94 billion, above the value recorded in the same month last year.
Exports of major commodities that expanded during the first nine months of 2011 were palm oil which was up by RM14.27 billion, refined petroleum products (up by RM6.62 billion) LNG (up by RM5.51 billion) and crude rubber with an improvement of RM3.95 billion.
On market performance, Mustapa said Asean continued to provide a strong regional base for Malaysia, with exports increasing by 10.6 per cent in September from a year ago.
Exports to Asean amounted to RM13.71 billion, accounting for 23.4 per cent of Malaysia's total exports, in September.