US E&E firms in Malaysia see exports growth slowing this year
KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Electronics firms from the United States based here project that their exports will only grow by 3 per cent this year, less than a third of the 9.1 per cent hike to RM56.5 billion in 2011, as trouble brews in top markets such as China, Europe and back home.
The Malaysian American Electronics Industry (MAEI), which controls nearly a quarter of Malaysia’s electrical and electronics exports, said today that personal computer sales would take a huge blow but growth would be supported by semiconductor and mobile device sales.
Datuk Wong Siew Hai, who chairs the industry committee under the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Amcham), told a press conference that the first quarter of this year saw export growth keep just above zero with “a slight increase”.
“But we are still on track (for the forecast of RM58 billion) as seasonally the second half is stronger due to festival sales,” he said.
He added that although Greece continues to teeter on the edge of default, Europe is only “our fourth biggest priority” as MAEI members sold mainly to the Asia-Pacific, followed by the US.
But a slowdown in China’s economy could have a significant impact on Malaysia’s growth due to rising linkages between the two countries, a research report released yesterday showed.
RHB Research Institute suggested that a 10 per cent decline in exports could push down Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.2 per cent.
But it said that while a slowdown in China would largely have an impact on resource sectors like the palm oil industry, the current euro-debt crisis will have a major impact on the country’s manufacturing exports, especially in electrical and electronics (E&E), because developed nations remained the major final consumers of those goods.
Wong also said today that although MAEI’s export sales grew by 9.1 per cent last year, this was due to the entry of two new companies.
“With reference to the 21 companies from 2010, export sales declined by 6 per cent. However, without PC-related companies, MAEI exports increased by 6.9 per cent,” he said.