Malaysia’s February exports slump to lowest since Aug 2016

(The Star) – Malaysia’s exports fell 5.3% in February to RM66.60bil, the lowest value since August 2016 due to a contraction in the exports of manufactured goods and petroleum products.

The 5.3% decline was a stark contrast with a Bloomberg survey of an increase of a 2.3%, according to Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin on Thursday.

“Re-exports were valued at RM10.5bil, down by 28.1% and accounted for 15.7% of total exports. Domestic exports increased RM342.5mil or 0.6% to RM56.2bil,” he said.

He said the decrease in exports was attributed to lower exports to Hong Kong (-RM636.6 mil), Indonesia (-RM632.9mil), the US (-RM616mil) and Vietnam (-RM532.8mil).

Imports fell by 9.4% to RM55.50bil, the lowest since May 2016.  The Bloomberg survey was a 0.9% increase.

“Total trade in February 2019 declined by 7.2% to RM122.10bil from February 2018. Trade surplus was RM11.10bil, surged 22.7% or RM2bil when compared to the previous year,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said the weaker exports in February – which account for 83.8% of total exports –  contracted by 4.3% to RM55.84bil.

“This was mainly contributed by the decrease in exports of petroleum products, manufactures of metal as well as optical and scientific equipment. However, exports were recorded for electrical and electronic (E&E) products, iron and steel products as well as paper and pulp products,” it said.