Malaysia’s Top Trading Partners

Malaysia's Top Trading Partners

by Flagpictures.org

Malaysia consists of two similarly sized regions in southeast Asia: Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). The country shares it borders with Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Malaysia shipped US$217.9 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That figure represents roughly 1.4% of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion one year prior in 2016.

From a continental lens, 70.6% of Malaysian exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 11.2% were sold to importers in Europe. Malaysia shipped smaller percentages to customers in North America (10.9%) and Oceania (4.2%)–notably Australia, New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, Papua New Guinea. A smaller percentage (2.2%) was sent to customers in Africa.

Malaysia’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Malaysia’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Malaysian shipments by dollar value during 2017. Also shown is each purchasing country’s percentage of total Malaysian exports.

  1. Singapore: US$31.6 billion (14.5% of total Malaysian exports)
  2. China: $29.4 billion (13.5%)
  3. United States: $20.7 billion (9.5%)
  4. Japan: $17.4 billion (8%)
  5. Thailand: $11.8 billion (5.4%)
  6. Hong Kong: $11.2 billion (5.1%)
  7. Indonesia: $8.1 billion (3.7%)
  8. India: $8 billion (3.7%)
  9. Australia: $7.5 billion (3.5%)
  10. South Korea: $6.7 billion (3.1%)
  11. Vietnam: $6.4 billion (3%)
  12. Netherlands: $6.3 billion (2.9%)
  13. Germany: $6.2 billion (2.9%)
  14. Taiwan: $5.5 billion (2.5%)
  15. Philippines: $3.8 billion (1.8%)

Over four-fifths (82.9%) of Malaysian exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Leading the purchase gains for Malaysian imports from 2016 to 2017 were four Asian nations: China (up 23.8%), Hong Kong (up 23%), South Korea (up 21.7%) and Indonesia (up 21.5%).

The slowest increases among Malaysia’s top trading partners were India (up 4.2%) and the United States (up 6.8%).

Deficits

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

Malaysia incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. China: -US$8.9 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Taiwan: -$7.3 billion
  3. South Korea: -$1.8 billion
  4. France: -$1.7 billion
  5. Switzerland: -$1.6 billion
  6. Saudi Arabia: -$1.5 billion
  7. Brazil: -$1.3 billion
  8. Argentina: -$946 million
  9. Indonesia: -$699.1 million
  10. Ireland: -$685.7 million

Among Malaysia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Malaysian deficits with France (up 91.8%), Indonesia (up 63.8%) and Ireland (up 52.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Malaysia’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Malaysia to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Overall Malaysia posted a $22.7 billion surplus on goods traded during 2017, up 7.9% from its $21 billion surplus in 2016.

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

Malaysia incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. Singapore: US$9.9 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. Hong Kong: $7.9 billion
  3. United States: $4.6 billion
  4. Netherlands: $4.4 billion
  5. Australia: $2.9 billion
  6. Japan: $2.6 billion
  7. Turkey: $2.1 billion
  8. Mexico: $1.9 billion
  9. India: $1.8 billion
  10. Philippines: $1.8 billion

Among Malaysia’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Malaysian surpluses with Japan (up 71.9%), Turkey (up 45.9%) and Hong Kong (up 31.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Malaysia’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Malaysia to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Malaysian Trading Partners

Seventeen Malaysian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Malaysian companies that Forbes included:

  • Axiata (communications equipment)
  • IOI Group (food processing)
  • MISC (shipping company)
  • Petronas Chemicals (specialized chemicals)
  • Petronas Dagangan (oil, gas)
  • Sime Darby (rubber, industrial/energy products)

Wikipedia lists some other large international trade players for Malaysia:

  • Hup Chong Furniture SDN BHD (bedroom furniture, beddings, miscellaneous wooden furniture)
  • Ly Furniture SDN BHD (furniture, furniture parts)
  • POS Malaysia Berhad (paper bags, envelopes)
  • R1 International Malaysia SDN BHD (latex, transmission belts, natural rubber in smoked sheets)


 
See also Malaysia’s Top 10 Imports, Highest Value Malaysian Import Products, Malaysia’s Top 10 Imports and Malaysia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 5, 2018

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

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 5, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Malaysia. Accessed on March 5, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 12, 2016