March 4, 2020 / 4:00 AM / a month ago

Malaysia's Jan exports drop after surprise rebound

    * Jan exports -1.5% y/y vs -1.6% forecast in Reuters poll
    * Jan imports -2.4% y/y vs -1.8% forecast in Reuters poll 
    * Jan trade surplus 12 bln rgt, matches poll forecast
    * reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/econ-polls?RIC=MYEXP%3DECI
 export poll data

    KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 (Reuters) - Malaysia's exports in January dropped 1.5%
from a year earlier, contracting after a surprise rebound in the previous month,
on weak demand for mining goods, government data showed on Wednesday.
    The decline was marginally better than the 1.6% fall forecast by analysts
surveyed in a Reuters poll. Exports in December grew 2.7% after four months of
contraction.
    Shipments of manufactured goods, which accounted for 84.4% of January's
total exports, grew 1.1% on-year, with increased demand for steel and rubber
products and machinery, equipment and parts, data from the international trade
and industry ministry showed.
    Mining and agricultural exports declined on lower shipments of liquefied
natural gas, sawn timber and moulding.
    Exports to most major markets, including Southeast Asia, China, Hong Kong
and Japan, declined, though shipments to the United States grew 9.5%.
    Imports fell 2.4% from a year earlier, after a 0.9% rise in December.
Analysts had expected an 1.8% drop. 
    The country reports trade data in ringgit.
    The trade surplus in January narrowed slightly to 12 billion ringgit ($2.87
billion) from 12.6 billion ringgit in the previous month.
    
    KEY DATA
    (Exports and imports in percent, trade in billions of ringgit)
                Jan    Dec     Nov    Oct     Sept    Aug    July   June    May
   Exports     84.1    86.4   80.8    81.3    90.6    81.3   88.0   76.2   84.2
                                                                           
     y/y%      -1.5    2.7    -5.5    -0.8    -6.7    -0.8   +1.7   -3.1   +2.5
   Imports     72.1    73.8   74.3    70.4    73.3    70.4   73.7   65.9   75.1
                                                                           
     y/y%      -2.4    0.9     3.6   -12.5    -8.7   -12.5   -5.9   -9.2   +1.4
   Balance     12.0    12.6    6.5    10.9    17.3    10.9   14.3   10.3    9.1
                                                                           
 
    MAIN EXPORTS
                         Jan 2020      % of      % change  
                                                     
                         (bln rgt)    total    vs year ago 
                                                     
 Electrical &              32.4        38.6        -5.5
 Electronic Products                           
 Petroleum products         6.7        8.0         45.8
 Chemicals and              4.3        5.1        -17.7
 chemicals products                            
                                               
 Optical and                3.1        3.7         0.2
 scientific equipment                          
 Palm oil & Palm-based      3.7        4.4         0.5
 agricultural products                         
 Machinery                  3.4        4.1         5.7
 Manufactures of metal      3.1        3.7         -2.8
                                               
 Liquefied natural gas      4.0        4.7        -22.8
                                               
 Crude petroleum            2.2        2.6        -10.9
 Rubber products            2.2        2.6         10.7
    
  EXPORT MARKETS                    
                   Jan 2020       % of      % change       
                  (bln rgt)      total       vs year ago    
                                                    
 China               10.4         12.4            -5.7
 Singapore           12.3         14.6            0.9
 USA                 8.7          10.4            9.5
 Japan               6.6           7.8            -1.6
 Hong Kong           5.6           6.6           -14.0
 
($1 = 4.1820 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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