KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Malaysia's exports in March rebounded after a slowdown to rise 2.2 per cent from a year earlier, underpinned by higher shipments of manufactured goods, government data showed today.
Export growth was above the 1.7 per cent rise forecast by a Reuters poll, and up from the 2 per cent decline in February, when shipments took a hit during the Lunar New Year break. The country's exports in March totalled RM84.5 billion, the highest monthly export value ever recorded, the International Trade and Industry Ministry said in a statement.
The growth in exports was mainly driven by higher shipments of manufactured goods, particularly electrical and electronic products, the ministry's data showed. Manufactured goods account for more than 80 per cent of Malaysia's exports.
Imports in March, however, declined 9.6 per cent year-on-year, at their weakest annual pace since September 2009, when they dropped 19.9 per cent. Imports of intermediate goods, which account for 52.8 per cent of total imports, fell 14.4 per cent from a year earlier in March.
Imports of capital and consumption goods also posted declines, the data showed. Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit.
March's trade surplus widened to RM14.7 billion, compared with RM9 billion in February. Exports to China, a major trading partner, remained tepid, falling 4.7 per cent year-on-year in March.
Shipments to the United States also declined marginally by 0.1 per cent from a year earlier, due to lower exports of commodities, electrical and electronic products.
For the first quarter of 2018, exports grew 5.8 per cent, but imports fell 0.8 per cent, compared with the corresponding period last year. — Reuters