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Malaysia's February export growth faster than expected at 14.5 percent

Malaysia's February export growth faster than expected at 14.5 percent

Malaysia's exports grew faster than expected in February, rising 14.5 percent from a year ago as higher shipments of commodities offset a decline in electrical and electronic exports, official data showed Thursday.
February's exports reached 47.05 billion ringgit (US$14.7 billion; euro9.4 billion), according to data release by the trade ministry. Ten economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast an average 14 percent rise compared to the same month last year.
Still, the figure was 11 percent less compared to January, according to the trade ministry.
Imports totaled 37.89 billion ringgit (US$11.8 billion; euro7.6 billion), up 11 percent from a year earlier, but also down 12.5 percent from January, the ministry said.
The trade surplus for the month was 9.16 billion ringgit (US$2.9 billion; euro1.9 billion), a surge of 32 percent from a year ago, and down 5.7 percent from January.
International Trade and Industry Minister Muhyiddin Yassin attributed the drop compared to the previous month to the slowdown in global demand due to U.S. economic problems. But he said he expects trade to improve in the second half of the year.
"There are ups and downs," he told reporters. "Hopefully this will not be continuing. We are monitoring this very closely. Possibly in the third and four quarters, things will pick up again."
Exports of electrical and electronic goods, which accounted for 37 percent of total shipments in February, fell 6 percent from a year earlier to 17.56 billion ringgit (US$5.5 billion; euro3.5 billion).
Palm oil exports doubled from a year ago to 3.77 billion ringgit (US$1.2 billion; euro770 million) for the month. Crude petroleum exports surged 55 percent to 3.55 billion ringgit (US$1.1 billion; euro700 million).
Southeast Asia, the United States, European Union, Japan, China and Korea accounted for 77 percent of total exports in February, the ministry said.
Last year, Malaysia's exports grew 2.7 percent, slower than a 10.3 percent pace in 2006 because of lower demand for electrical and electronic products from the United States.
The government predicts growth will pick up this year in line with global trade expansion and higher shipments to emerging markets.


Updated : 2021-10-20 15:18 GMT+08:00