Sarawak’s total trade improves to RM102.6b in first nine months this year — Wong

Wong poses with his ministerial winding-up speeches before the start of the DUN sitting.

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By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, Nov 13: Sarawak recorded RM102.6 billion in total trade as at September this year, an increase of 1.1 per cent from the RM101.5 billion recorded during the same period last year.

International Trade and eCommerce Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said exports decreased by 2.9 per cent from RM71.7 billion to RM69.6 billion, while imports grew by 10.9 per cent from RM29.8 billion to RM33 billion.

Export receipts from Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) remained the biggest contributor at 39.6 per cent or RM27.54 billion, followed by crude petroleum at 12.3 per cent (RM8.57 billion) and palm oil at 9.5 per cent (RM8.19 billion), he told the august House today.

“Our major export partners also remained the same, namely Japan at 25.8 per cent, Peninsular Malaysia (15.7 per cent) and China (11.3 per cent). These three markets contributed 52.8 per cent to the total export value.

“Our main import items are still machinery and transport equipment (32 per cent), followed by chemical products (15.3 per cent) and manufactured goods (13.7 per cent).

“The higher importation of machinery and transport equipment is for the construction of many major infrastructure projects in the state,” Wong said in his winding-up speech.

Citing the World Economic Outlook (October 2018), he said it was projected that global trade would continue to grow despite the impact of the trade war between China and the United States. Global trade is expected to grow at 4.2 per cent this year and at 4 per cent in 2019.

“The global merchandise trade growth is expected to remain strong for the remaining of 2018 and for 2019. This will be supported by the continued expansion of global economic growth, where governments are expected to pursue appropriate and more favourable monetary, fiscal and especially trade policies,” he said.

Wong said the country’s trade performance as at September this year registered a total trade volume of RM1.38 trillion, an increase of 5.5 per cent from RM1.31 trillion for the same period last year.

Exports increased by 6.3 per cent to RM733.6 billion, while imports grew at a slower pace of 4.7 per cent to RM647.9 billion. Trade surplus for this period rose by 20.4 per cent to RM85.7 billion compared to the same period last year.

Wong said the rapid development of global eCommerce showed an upward trend and was expected to continue in the future. In Malaysia, eCommerce was increasingly becoming a popular choice for investment for existing and new businesses due the potential growth and rewards.

“This is in view of the existing 15.3 million online shoppers and the number is expected to grow at a rapid pace,” he opined.

Citing the Statistics Department, the Bawang Assan assemblyman said eCommerce contributed 6.3 per cent to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), amounting to RM85.8 billion last year.

For 2018, the National eCommerce Council (NEC) estimated that the sector’s contribution to the National GDP would increase to RM93 billion. — DayakDaily