Malaysia July exports up 0.6% on year, way below estimates

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 05): Malaysian exports grew 0.6% on year to RM61.12 billion in July this year, way below market forecast.

Lower sales of electrical and electronic (E&E) goods, and liquified natural gas (LNG) had offset higher transactions for petroleum, palm oil and chemical products, according to the Statistics Department's statement today.

In geographical terms, while Malaysian exports to the US and Europe rose, sales to other major markets like China and Japan fell. Exports to China and Japan decreased 14.4% and 22.1% respectively.

The Statistics Department said sale of E&E products, which accounted for the largest share of 33.7% of Malaysian exports, declined 1% as exports to Singapore and China fell.

Malaysian LNG exports were down 22.9% during the month.

"Slower domestic economic activities in the PRC (China) reflected by the drop in China's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), contributed to lower exports to the PRC in July," the department said.

Exports to Japan dropped mainly due to lower exports of LNG and crude petroleum.

Elsewhere, Malaysian exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region and European Union increased 1.7% and 8.9% respectively. Exports to the US grew 4.5%.

Meanwhile, Malaysian imports decreased 0.7% to RM57.48 billion, as capital and consumption goods purchases fell.

Intermediate goods imports, however, increased during the month.

Cumulative seven-month exports rose 10.7% to RM441.25 billion, while imports climbed 5.8% to RM392.8 billion.

Trade surplus rose 76.6% to RM48.45 billion.

July export's on year growth of 0.6% had come in significantly lower than Reuters' median market forecast of a 6.2% expansion.

The country's export growth had slowed, compared to recent months. In June, exports rose 7.9%, following a 16.3% and 18.9% rise in May and April respectively.