July 5, 2018 / 4:25 AM / 3 months ago

Malaysia's May export growth slows to 3.4 pct y/y, below forecast

    * May exports +3.4 pct y/y vs Reuters poll +6.4 pct
    * May imports +0.1 pct y/y vs poll forecast -2.6 pct 
    * Trade surplus 8.1 bln rgt vs poll forecast 11 bln rgt
    * Exports to China up 7.4 pct, down 5.6 pct to the U.S.

    KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 (Reuters) - Malaysia's annual export growth slowed
sharply in May from the previous month, amid lower demand for palm oil, a major
export commodity, government data showed on Thursday.
    Export growth slowed to 3.4 percent from a year earlier and was sharply down
from the 14 percent annual growth in April. A Reuters poll had forecast a 6.4
percent annual rise for May.
    Exports of agricultural goods declined 21.9 percent year-on-year in May,
mainly due to lower exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agricultural
products, the International Trade and Industry Ministry said in a statement.
    May's exports of mining goods, however, rose 40 percent from a year earlier
on higher demand for liquefied natural gas and crude petroleum.
    Shipments of manufactured goods, which account for 83 percent of the
country's exports, grew 3.2 percent.
    May's imports rose 0.1 percent annually, down from a 9.1 percent rise in
April, with declines posted in all three major categories of imports:
intermediate, capital and consumption goods. The forecast was for a fall of 2.6
percent.
    Imports of intermediate goods, which account for 54 percent of total imports
fell 5.3 percent from a year earlier in May. 
    Imports of capital and consumption goods declined 0.7 percent and 10.2
percent respectively.
    Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit.
    May's trade surplus narrowed to 8.1 billion ringgit ($2 billion) from 13.1
billion ringgit in the previous month.

    KEY DATA   
    (Exports and imports in percent, trade in billions of ringgit)      
                 May    April   March    Feb     Jan    Dec     Nov    Oct
    Exports      82.1    84.2    84.5   70.3    82.9    79.3   83.5   82.4
                                                                      
     y/y%        3.4      14     2.2    -2.0    17.9    4.7    14.4   18.9
    Imports      74.0    71.2    69.8   61.3    73.2    72.1   73.6   71.9
                                                                      
     y/y%        0.1     9.1     -9.6   -2.8    11.6    7.9    15.2   20.9
    Balance      8.1     13.1    14.7    9.0    9.7     7.3    10.0   10.6
                                                                      
 
    MAIN EXPORTS
                         May 2018      % of      % change  
                                                     
                         (bln rgt)    total    vs year ago 
                                                     
 Electrical &              29.2        35.5        2.1
 Electronic Products                           
 Petroleum products         8.1        9.9         1.7
 Chemicals and              4.5        5.5         14.6
 chemicals products                            
                                               
 Manufactures of metal      4.4        5.3         44.7
 Palm oil & Palm-based      3.6        4.4        -24.7
 agricultural products                         
                                               
 Machinery                  3.3        4.1        -11.5
 Liquefied natural gas      3.1        3.8         60.9
                                               
 Crude petroleum            3.1        3.8         45.9
 Optical and                2.9        3.6         13.4
 scientific equipment                          
 Palm-based                 2.1        2.6         7.2
 manufactured products                         
    
  EXPORT MARKETS                    
                   May 2018       % of      % change       
                  (bln rgt)      total       vs year ago    
                                                    
 China               11.5         14.0            7.4
 Singapore           11.1         13.6            -9.8
 USA                 7.0           8.5            -5.6
 Japan               5.6           6.8             16
 Thailand            4.9           5.9            18.4
 
 ($1 = 4.0440 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
  
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