July 9, 2020 / 4:16 AM / a month ago

Malaysia's May factory output plummets 22.1% year-on-year, but less than forecast

FILE PHOTO: A worker collects palm oil fruit inside a palm oil factory in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur in this June 18, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Samsul Said/File Photo

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia’s industrial production index in May fell 22.1% from a year earlier, slowing for the third month in a row, government data showed on Thursday, as curbs imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic continued to dampen activity.

The index measures factory output from the manufacturing, mining and electricity generation sectors.

The decline was just shy of the 25% annual fall forecast by analysts surveyed by Reuters, and slower than the 32% tumble in April, the biggest drop on record.

All three main sectors tracked by the index posted declines in May, with manufacturing output falling 23.2% from a year earlier, the Statistics Department said in a statement.

Electricity output fell 10.3% on year, while the mining sector index was down 22.2%, data from the department showed.

Malaysia’s exports in May had plunged 25.5% from a year earlier, its worst performance in more than a decade, amid a global slowdown caused by the pandemic, government data showed last week.

Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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