Malaysia: Current account balance surplus reaches RM15.2bil

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s current account balance continued to record a surplus of RM15.2bil in the final quarter of 2021, the Statistics Department said.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin (pic) said the current account surplus in the fourth quarter of 2021 was driven by the exceptionally high net exports of goods with the double-digit growth in prices of commodities.

The goods account registered net exports of RM51.8bil, the highest since the third quarter of 2008 at RM50.9bil. Exports of goods with a contribution of 92% to overall Malaysia’s exports grew at a faster rate to log RM271.3bil from RM236.6bil in the previous quarter.

“The increment of 14.7% was a result of the higher exports of electrical and electronics, palm oil and chemicals-based products; predominantly to China, Singapore and the United States,” Mohd Uzir said yesterday.

Concurrently, imports of goods went up 12.3% quarter-on-quarter to record RM219.5bil. In this quarter, intermediate, capital and consumption goods were imported mainly from China, Singapore and Taiwan, he added.

Besides goods account, the current account surplus in the fourth quarter of 2021 was also backed by the lower deficit in secondary income account at RM1.4bil from RM3.1bil deficit last quarter.The Statistics Department said the receipts ascended 47.6% to RM6.4bil compared with the preceding quarter following higher inflow of remittances by Malaysians working abroad while payments also increased to RM7.8bil from RM7.4bil in the third quarter of 2021.

Elaborating further on the balance of payments statistics, Mohd Uzir said services account recorded a higher deficit of RM15.5bil in the fourth quarter of 2021 from a deficit of RM15.2bil last quarter. He said exports of services rose 10.1% to RM23.6bil, while imports also increased 6.6% to RM39.1bil due to higher deficit in transport, telecommunication, computer and information, as well as continuous deficit in travel.

Similarly, the primary income account recorded a higher deficit of RM19.7bil compared with RM11.3bil in the previous quarter, mainly owing to higher income earned by foreign companies in Malaysia which amounted to RM53.8bil, particularly in direct investments.

The Statistics Department said these companies were largely involved in financial services and the manufacturing sector, with the income mostly channelled to the US, Singapore and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Malaysian companies abroad also earned higher income of RM35.6bil compared with RM16.4bil in the preceding quarter, especially in direct investment, with most of them located in the Netherlands, Singapore and Indonesia, that principally engaged in financial activities and the agriculture sector.

“Financial account turned around to register a net outflow of RM2.2bil in this quarter from a net inflow of RM22.8bil in the previous quarter.

“This was mainly contributed by net outflow in other investment of RM14bil, which was reflected by higher interbank lending and placement of deposits by residents with financial institutions abroad,” Mohd Uzir said. — Bernama