Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said in a statement, Malaysia’s trade fell 16.4 percent year-on-year to 133.34 billion ringgit in April due to COVID-19 pandemic which caused major disruptions to global supply chain.
The country’s imports also decreased by 8 percent to 68.42 billion ringgit, and a trade deficit of 3.5 billion ringgit was recorded in April.
International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said the declines in both exports and imports are expected given that most countries around the world were under some form of lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“This has caused major disruptions to the manufacturing activities and movement of goods globally. Nevertheless, exports of some products such as iron and steel, rubber gloves and refined palm oil recorded increases,” he added.
“Similarly, companies in other countries are also ramping up their business operations. This will boost trade activities between Malaysia and other countries,” he added.
For the first four months, Malaysia’s trade dropped by 3.5 percent to 573.75 billion ringgit compared to the corresponding period of 2019.
Meanwhile, Malaysia exports to China increased by 0.2 percent for the first four months. The export to the China in April rebounded by 4.2 percent to 12.07 billion ringgit on higher shipments for iron and steel products, electrical and electronic products and crude petroleum.
The Socio-Economic Research Center‘s executive director Lee Heng Guie told Xinhua that the larger than expected contraction in exports indicate the impact of restrictions measures employed by governments worldwide to combat COVID-19, which had disrupted demand and supply chains.
“The sharp export declines will be a big drag on overall gross domestic product for this year. We estimate exports to contract by 11.2 percent in 2020,” he said.