April exports stumble as overseas demand stutters
KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 – Malaysian exports experienced a slight decline in April for the second consecutive month due to weakening demand, the statistics department said today.
The country also saw its trade surplus slump 31.8 per cent from RM11 billion a year ago to RM7.5 billion.
Exports fell 0.1 per cent year-on-year to RM57.7 billion largely due to lower exports to the European Union, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.
RHB Research Institute said in a report this evening that the April decline contrasted with the median estimate of a 1.1 per cent gain, “signalling that stuttering economic growth in major economies and concerns over the European debt crisis impacted demand for exports, which was reflected in lower exports of electrical and electronic products.”
Electrical & electronic (E&E) products, which accounted for 32 per cent of total exports, suffered a sharp drop, slipping 6.8 per cent or RM1.4 billion to RM18.5 billion.
Natural rubber and palm oil exports also decreased by 48.8 and 11 per cent respectively.
Petroleum products and crude petroleum, however, saw a 41.9 per cent and 35.6 per cent rise in exports to RM3.9 and RM3.5 billion respectively. China, Singapore and Japan were the country’s top three trading partners in April and also the top three largest export destinations.
Malaysia’s imports grew 7.4 per cent year-on-year to RM50.2 billion with higher imports from China, UAE, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.
The statistics department said that capital goods were the largest contributor to the rise in imports followed by consumption goods.
Imports of capital goods, which accounted for 15.9 per cent of total imports, grew 26.4 per cent from RM6.3 billion due largely to the increase in import of machineries.
RHB said that while the effects of the contagion of the Eurozone crisis remain potentially huge, it expects economic conditions to improve later this year.
“As global uncertainties clear out, outlook will gradually improve, leading to a gradual pick-up in Malaysia’s exports as well,” said RHB.