Sarawak achieves RM67.7 bln trade surplus in 2023 despite 14.8pct decline in exports

Sarawak achieved a RM67.6 billion trade surplus in 2023. Screenshot credit: Sarawak Public Communications Unit livestream of Awang Tengah's ministerial winding-up speech on May 15, 2024

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, May 15: Sarawak has achieved a RM67.7 billion trade surplus in 2023 despite a decline in exports by 14.8 per cent to RM130.4 billion.

Minister for International Trade, Industry and Investment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said imports also contracted by 2.5 per cent to RM62.6 billion in 2023 compared with 2022.


He said the total trade value was lower by 11.2 per cent to RM193 billion due to slower global demand, lower commodity prices and geopolitical tensions.

“Sarawak exports remained dominated by LNG (liquefied natural gas), which accounted 42 per cent of the share of total exports in 2023.

“The total export volume of LNG increased marginally at 0.7 per cent to 24.8 million tonnes. However, export value dropped by 11.6 per cent to RM54.8 billion due to weak commodity price.

“The average price for LNG declined by 12.2 per cent from RM2,520 per tonne to RM2,213 per tonne during the same period,” he said in his ministerial winding-up speech in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUS) today.

Meanwhile, Awang Tengah said the exports of E&E products rose by 15.4 per cent last year, supported by increased demand for semiconductors, solar, and other components for electric vehicle batteries.

He said the E&E sector is expected to grow 5 per cent in 2024, due to positive global demand for sustainable, greener and cleaner industries such as solar, electric vehicles and medical technology devices.

On the dip in Sarawak’s imports, the Sarawak Deputy Premier said imports of intermediate goods, which accounted for 52.4 per cent of total imports decreased as a result of slowdown in manufactured exports, while consumption goods which accounted for 18.4 per cent contracted by 3.2 per cent.

“As of first quarter of 2024, total trade increased by 5.9 per cent to RM52.2 billion from RM49.3 billion in the first quarter of 2023.

“Both exports and imports rebound by 5.8 per cent and 6.3 per cent respectively, supported by growth in global and domestic demand,” said Awang Tengah. — DayakDaily