Malaysia’s Top 10 Imports

Malaysia's Top 10 Imports

Legoland (Nusajaya, Malaysia)

Located in Southeast Asia near powerful trade partners including Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines, Malaysia imported US$195.2 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -5.2% drop since 2013 but a 15.9% uptick from 2016 to 2017.

Malaysian imports represent 1.2% of total global imports which totaled $16.054 trillion for one year prior in 2016.

From a continental perspective, 72.9% of Malaysia’s total imports by value in 2017 were purchased from other Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 11.7% of import sales to Malaysia while 8.8% worth originated from North America. Africa accounted for just 1.4% of overall Malaysian imports.

Given Malaysia ‘s population of 31.4 million people, its total $195.2 billion in 2017 imports translates to roughly $6,200 in yearly product demand from every person in the country.

Malaysia’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Malaysia’s import purchases during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Malaysia.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$54.8 billion (28.1% of total imports)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: $24.9 billion (12.7%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $22.8 billion (11.7%)
  4. Plastics, plastic articles: $7.7 billion (3.9%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $5.6 billion (2.9%)
  6. Vehicles: $5.5 billion (2.8%)
  7. Iron, steel: $5.2 billion (2.7%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $4.5 billion (2.3%)
  9. Rubber, rubber articles: $3.9 billion (2%)
  10. Organic chemicals: $3.7 billion (1.9%)

Malaysia’s top 10 imports accounted for over seven-tenths (70.9%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Mineral fuels including oil posted the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 43.3% in value from 2016 to 2017 caused by higher purchases of petroleum oils, coal and petroleum gases.

In second place were rubber and articles made from rubber which expanded 34.5% in value. Imported gems and precious metals appreciated by 28.3% largely due to greater Malaysian purchases of gold. Malaysian imports of organic chemicals appreciated by 22.2%.

The sole top 10 category to decline was vehicles, which showed a -5.2% dip in Malaysian imports year over year.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.

Electronics

In 2017, Malaysian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical products including consumer electronics:

  1. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: US$31.1 billion (up 24.9% from 2016)
  2. Phone system devices including smartphones: $4.1 billion (up 15.9%)
  3. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $3.7 billion (up 4.5%)
  4. Printed circuits: $1.9 billion (up 9.4%)
  5. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $1.8 billion (up 2.7%)
  6. Electrical converters/power units: $1.3 billion (up 11.6%)
  7. TV/radio/radar device parts: $1.2 billion (up 9.2%)
  8. Electric motors, generators: $918.2 million (up 17.6%)
  9. Insulated wire/cable: $852 million (up 15.7%)
  10. Electrical capacitators: $728 million (up 11.7%)

Among these import subcategories, Malaysia’s purchases of integrated circuits or microassemblies (up 24.9%), electric motors or generators (up 17.6%) and phone system devices including smartphones (up 15.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among Malaysian businesses and consumers.

Fuel

In 2017, Malaysian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products:

  1. Processed petroleum oils: US$16.7 billion (up 40.7% from 2016)
  2. Crude oil: $4 billion (up 40.2%)
  3. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $2.5 billion (up 74.2%)
  4. Petroleum gases: $1 billion (up 41.5%)
  5. Coke, semi-coke: $235.2 million (up 163.7%)
  6. Petroleum oil residues: $226.3 million (up 85.9%)
  7. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $162.7 million (down -21.6%)
  8. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $36.9 million (down -1.7%)
  9. Tar pitch, coke: $11.7 million (up 9.5%)
  10. Electrical energy: $5.8 million (down -31.1%)

Among these import subcategories, Malaysia’s purchases of coke or semi-coke (up 163.7%), petroleum oil residues (up 85.9%) and coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 74.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported fossil fuel-related products among Malaysian businesses and consumers.

Machinery

In 2017, Malaysian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers:

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$2.9 billion (up 11.2% from 2016)
  2. Computer parts, accessories: $2.1 billion (down -10.5%)
  3. Miscellaneous machinery: $1.7 billion (up 73.2%)
  4. Machinery for making semi-conductors: $1.3 billion (up 74.3%)
  5. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $998.6 million (up 18.3%)
  6. Turbo-jets: $996.2 million (up 54.9%)
  7. Printing machinery: $975.1 million (up 12.2%)
  8. Air or vacuum pumps: $922.5 million (up 23.3%)
  9. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $845.7 million (up 20.1%)
  10. Temperature-change machines: $758.4 million (down -8.4%)

Among these import subcategories, Malaysia’s purchases of machinery for making semi-conductors (up 74.3%), miscellaneous machinery (up 73.2%) and turbo-jets (up 54.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Malaysian businesses and consumers.

Plastics

In 2017, Malaysian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of plastics:

  1. Ethylene polymers: US$1.8 billion (up 20.9% from 2016)
  2. Polyacetal/ether/carbonates: $832 million (down -4.9%)
  3. Miscellaneous plastic items: $814.7 million (up 34.5%)
  4. Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips: $689.7 million (up 12.4%)
  5. Propylene/olefin polymers: $674.4 million (up 3.9%)
  6. Plastic packing goods, lids, caps: $341 million (down -1.6%)
  7. Self-adhesive plastic in rolls: $335.2 million (up 5.6%)
  8. Styrene polymers: $330.1 million (up 14.2%)
  9. Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips: $282.5 million (up 5.4%)
  10. Vinyl chloride polymers: $274.5 million (up 5.3%)

Among these import subcategories, Malaysia’s purchases of miscellaneous plastic items (up 34.5%), ethylene polymers (up 20.9%) and styrene polymers (up 14.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported plastics among Malaysian businesses and consumers.



 

See also Malaysia’s Top Trading Partners, Malaysia’s Top 10 Exports, Top Asian Export Countries and Malaysia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 5, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 5, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 5, 2018