"This was the largest trade surplus recorded for the month of February thus far and the 268th consecutive month of surplus," the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) said in a statement today.
It said exports picked up sharply by 11.8 per cent to RM74.45 billion, compared with a 1.5 per cent decline in January 2020, the strongest year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in 16 months, while imports expanded by 11.3 per cent to RM61.83 billion.
"Total trade in February 2020 registered a double-digit growth of 11.6 per cent to RM136.28 billion compared to February 2019. Higher trade was recorded with the United States (US), Singapore, the Republic of Korea (ROK), China and Taiwan," it said.
On a month-on-month basis, the ministry said trade, exports and imports posted a decline of 12.7, 11.5 and 14.2 per cent respectively while the trade surplus increased by 4.9 per cent.
According with to MITI, manufactured exports grew 13.1 per cent to RM63.12 billion in February 2020, and accounted for 84.4 per cent of the total exports.
"The main contributors to the increase were iron and steel products, optical and scientific equipment, petroleum products, machinery, equipment and parts, wood products as well as processed food," it said.
Exports of mining goods posted a decline of 3.0 per cent to RM5.63 billion and constituted 7.6 per cent of the total exports.
"This was mainly due to lower exports of crude petroleum. However, exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) were higher by 7.1 per cent," it said.
Export value of agriculture goods grew 15.8 per cent to RM5.19 billion and accounted for 7.0 per cent of total exports, mainly due to expansion in exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, particularly palm oil, which posted an increase of 17.1 per cent compared with February 2019.
MITI said exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products also recorded an increase of 17.1 per cent to RM3.56 billion.
MITI said exports to Singapore saw a significant increase of 22.5 per cent to RM11.16 billion in February 2020, mainly contributed by exports of petroleum products.
It said among other major markets in ASEAN, exports to Indonesia expanded 21.6 per cent to RM2.34 billion due to higher exports of chemicals and chemical products, while exports to the Philippines went up 34.3 per cent to RM1.59 billion on higher iron and steel products exports.
MITI said exports of manufactured goods to China advanced 11 per cent in February 2020, particularly for iron and steel products, manufactures of metal as well as optical and scientific equipment and palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products.
On trade with the US, MITI said total trade improved 23.3 per cent y-o-y to RM13.78 billion and accounted for 10.1 per cent of Malaysia's total trade.
"Exports to the US continued to grow for 11 straight months with an increase of 25.5 per cent y-o-y to RM7.93 billion in February 2020.