April 4, 2019 / 4:00 AM / 4 months ago

Malaysia's February exports unexpectedly fall 5.3 pct y/y

    * Feb exports -5.3 pct y/y vs +1.4 pct forecast in Reuters poll
    * Feb imports -9.4 pct y/y vs poll forecast -0.6 pct
    * Feb trade surplus 11.1 bln rgt vs poll forecast 10.4 bln rgt
    * Exports to China -1.6 pct y/y; to the U.S. -8.9 pct y/y

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 (Reuters) - Malaysia's exports fell sharply in
February, the first contraction since August as trade slowed with most of its
partners, government data showed on Thursday.
    Exports fell 5.3 percent in February from a year earlier, below the 1.4
percent rise forecast in a Reuters poll. In January, exports grew 3.1
percent.
    The slowdown in exports was largely due to weaker demand for petroleum
products, manufacture of metals and optical and scientific equipment, data from
the country's International Trade and Industry Ministry showed.
    Exports of mining goods fell 5.5 percent year-on-year in February, the data
showed. Shipments of manufactured goods, which accounted for 83.8 percent of
total exports, contracted by 4.3 percent.
    Exports of palm oil, a major export commodity for Malaysia, fell 11.4
percent year-on-year, the ministry said.
    Imports fell 9.4 percent in February from a year earlier. 
    February's trade surplus came in at 11.1 billion ringgit ($2.72 billion),
compared with the 11.5 billion ringgit registered in the previous month.
    Exports to China, a major trading partner, fell by 1.6 percent annually in
February, a sharp decline from the 9.1 percent growth in January.
    Shipments to the United States fell 8.9 percent, on slower exports of
manufactures of metal, transport equipment and optical and scientific equipment.
 
    Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit.

    KEY DATA
    (Exports and imports in percent, trade in billions of ringgit)      
                Feb     Jan     Dec     Nov      Oct     Sept    Aug     July
   Exports      66.6    82.8    83.3    84.8    96.3     83.1    81.8    86.1
                                                                        
     y/y%       -5.3    3.1     4.8     1.6     17.7     6.7     -0.3    9.4
   Imports      55.5    73.9    72.8    77.2    80.1     67.8    80.2    77.8
                                                                        
     y/y%       -9.4    1.0     1.0     5.0     11.4     -2.7    11.2    10.3
   Balance      11.1    11.5    10.4    7.6     16.3     15.3    1.6     8.3
                                                                        
 
    MAIN EXPORTS
                         Feb 2019      % of      % change  
                                                     
                         (bln rgt)    total    vs year ago 
                                                     
 Electrical &              25.8        38.8        4.9
 Electronic Products                           
 Chemicals and              3.9        5.9         -4.2
 chemicals products                            
                                               
 Liquefied natural gas      3.1        4.7         8.6
                                               
 Petroleum products         4.3        6.5        -32.6
 Palm oil & Palm-based      3.0        4.6        -16.9
 agricultural products                         
 Machinery                  2.8        4.2         -6.6
 Manufactures of metal      2.6        3.9        -19.0
                                               
 Optical and                2.2        3.3        -17.4
 scientific equipment                          
 Crude petroleum            1.9        2.9        -21.8
 Rubber products            2.0        3.0         0.6
    
  EXPORT MARKETS                    
                   Feb 2019       % of      % change       
                  (bln rgt)      total       vs year ago    
                                                    
 China               8.5          12.8            -1.6
 Singapore           9.1          13.7            -2.9
 USA                 6.3           9.5            -8.9
 Japan               5.4           8.1            -2.9
 Hong Kong           4.0           6.0           -13.8
 
 ($1 = 4.0770 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
  
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