Malaysia’s exports slump 19.8%

(The Straits Times) – MALAYSIA’S exports, the mainstay of the economy, plunged 19.8 per cent in August from a year earlier, according to official data on Thursday.

The trade ministry said in a statement that exports fell to 47.83 billion ringgit (S$19.5 billion) year-on-year while imports dropped 18.6 per cent to 38.26 billion ringgit, producing a trade surplus of 9.57 billion ringgit.

Total trade from January to August was worth 617.65 billion ringgit, a decrease of 23.3 per cent from a year earlier.

The ministry said the decline year-on-year was due to lower demand among key trading partners, particularly for iron and steel products as well as electrical and electronic items, which account for one-third of Malaysia’s total exports.

Malaysia’s key export markets are Singapore, China, Japan, Hong Kong and the United States.

In July, Malaysian exports fell 22.9 per cent on revised figures. The government has said the export-dependent economy is likely to contract by 4.0-5.0 per cent this year due to the drop-off in exports and manufacturing.