October 4, 2019 / 4:02 AM / 16 days ago

Malaysia's August exports fall 0.8% y/y, against a forecast rise

    * August exports -0.8% y/y vs 2.5% forecast in Reuters poll
    * August imports -12.5% y/y vs poll forecast -8%
    * August trade surplus 10.9 bln rgt vs poll forecast 10.4 bln rgt
    * Exports to China -2.8% y/y; Exports to U.S. +6.8%

    KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Malaysian exports fell in August,
contracting after an unexpected rebound in the previous month, on weaker demand
for electrical and electronic products from most of its trade partners,
government data showed on Friday.
    Exports fell 0.8% in August from a year earlier, a far worse result than the
2.5% hike forecast by economists in a Reuters poll. Exports had jumped 1.7% in
July.
    Exports of electrical and electronic products, which account for about a
third of Malaysia's total exports, fell 7.4 percent in August, on weak demand
from its Southeast Asian trade partners, China and Japan.
    Exports to China, one of Malaysia's biggest trade partners, fell 2.8% even
as demand for palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products doubled.
Shipments to the United States were up 6.8%, data from the International Trade
and Industry Ministry showed.
    Shipments of manufactured goods, which contributed about 84.4% of total
exports in August, rose 0.1% from a year-ago period.
    The slight increase was driven by higher demand for manufactures of metal,
transport equipment, iron and steel products, petroleum products, processed
food, as well as machinery, equipment and parts.
    Exports were also helped by growth in shipments of agriculture goods, but
weighed down by a sharp decline in demand for mining goods.
    Imports in August shrank 12.5% from a year earlier, falling further from the
5.9% decline recorded in July.
    Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit.
    The trade surplus in August narrowed to 10.9 billion ringgit ($2.61 billion)
from 14.3 billion ringgit in the previous month.
    
    KEY DATA
    (Exports and imports in percent, trade in billions of ringgit)
                Aug     July    June    May   April  March   Feb    Jan    Dec
   Exports      81.3    88.0    76.2   84.2   85.2   84.0   66.6   82.8   83.3
                                                                          
     y/y%       -0.8    +1.7    -3.1   +2.5   +1.1   -0.5   -5.3    3.1    4.8
   Imports      70.4    73.7    65.9   75.1   74.4   69.7   55.5   73.9   72.8
                                                                          
     y/y%      -12.5    -5.9    -9.2   +1.4   +4.4   -0.1   -9.4    1.0    1.0
   Balance      10.9    14.3    10.3    9.1   10.9   14.4   11.1   11.5   10.4
                                                                          
 
    MAIN EXPORTS
                         Aug 2019      % of      % change  
                                                     
                         (bln rgt)    total    vs year ago 
                                                     
 Electrical &              30.0        36.5        -7.4
 Electronic Products                           
 Petroleum products         5.4        6.7         7.0
 Chemicals and              4.8        5.9         -4.5
 chemicals products                            
                                               
 Machinery                  3.5        4.3         7.6
 Manufactures of metal      4.0        4.9         19.2
                                               
 Liquefied natural gas      2.9        3.6        -11.2
                                               
 Palm oil & Palm-based      4.1        5.0         23.3
 agricultural products                         
 Optical and                2.8        3.4        -12.3
 scientific equipment                          
 Crude petroleum            2.0        2.4        -40.0
 Rubber products            2.2        2.7         -2.5
    
  EXPORT MARKETS                    
                   Aug 2019       % of      % change       
                  (bln rgt)      total       vs year ago    
                                                    
 China               11.5         14.1            -2.8
 Singapore           10.9         13.4            -7.2
 USA                 8.3          10.2            6.8
 Hong Kong           5.0           6.1           -15.4
 Japan               5.0           6.1            2.4
 
($1 = 4.1800 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Joseph Sipalan;)
  
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