Exports jump in 2017, stretching to a remarkable performance
2017 has been an extremely good year for Malaysia’s exports of rubber products, with performance reaching approximately RM18 billion for the first 10 months, almost equalling the whole year’s total exports of RM18.15 billion recorded in 2016.
The sharp jump of 20.6% to RM17.98 billion for the first 10 months of last year was due to the recovery in global trade which saw remarkable export performance by the Malaysian rubber glove industry. Exports in rubber gloves expanded 21.0% for the period of January – October 2017, recording RM13.2 billion compared to RM10.91 billion in the corresponding period in 2016. The latex sector, again dominated the export revenue contribution with a strong increase of 20.9% to RM14.51 billion. However, exports of industrial rubber goods recorded the highest growth rate of 45.6%, with inner tubes, tyres and general rubber goods trailing closely behind at 39.0%, 26.9% and 11.6% respectively. While rubber gloves remained the biggest contributor with 21.0% growth for the first 10 months, other rubber products that recorded good export performance in 2017 include insulated wire and cables (523.5%), plates, sheets and strips of cellular rubber (114.1%), latex thread (41.9%), rubber bands (27.4%) and tubes, pipes and hoses (24%). Imports of rubber products on the other hand stood at RM6.27 billion, up by 16.32%, mainly contributed by tyres and footwear – widening our trade surplus to RM11.71 billion.
The United States remained Malaysia’s largest export destination for the Malaysian rubber products industry, capturing 28.26% of total exports in the first 10 months of 2017. Other major export destinations were Germany and Japan (6.32% respectively) followed by China (5.11%) and United Kingdom, Brazil and Singapore (above 3% respectively).
In 2018, the exceptional export performance of Malaysian rubber products is expected to normalise to about 5% taking note of the following – the high base effect, strengthening of the ringgit against US dollars and normalisation in growth of exports of rubber gloves to China.
Within a competitive global landscape, coupled with the ringgit set to move higher against US dollars, and a moderate export growth performance expected for the Malaysian rubber products industry in 2018, MREPC has designed specific programmes and activities that will assist in strengthening the rubber products industry production capacity and our industry members’ endeavours in adopting latest manufacturing technologies. MREPC will be participating in over 20 trade promotion activities overseas – among others participation in international trade shows, specialised missions and working visits – to enhance our exports of high value rubber products and to target markets identified having potential for high export growth rates. Furthermore, MREPC’s overseas offices in Washington DC, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Mumbai will be increasing efforts to secure more trade leads and market information for our exporters besides facilitating Malaysian exporters to expand into these markets.
Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous year ahead!
Low Yoke Kiew
Chief Executive Officer
Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC)