KUALA LUMPUR (June 4): Exports in April rebounded into positive territory, expanding 1.1% on year (y-o-y), after growth contracted 0.5% and 5.3% in March and February respectively.
RHB bank in its economic view said electrical and electronics (E&E) exports recovered to post growth of 3.9% y-o-y, after falling 1.9% in March 2019.
"Exports of electrical machinery and apparatus (mostly semiconductors) and telecommunication equipment shipments picked up, while office machines and data processing equipment fell at a slower pace during the month," it said.
In contrast, non-E&E exports grew at a weaker 1.4% y-o-y compared with 3.2%, as shipments of machinery, transport equipment, wood and rubber products slowed.
By destination, shipments to the US, Japan and ASEAN accelerated, but exports to China and the EU slipped during the month to offset overall export growth.
RHB Bank also said imports recovered to grow by 4.4% y-o-y in April, after falling 0.1% in the previous month, aided by a rebound in the import of capital goods, while intermediate and consumption goods imports picked up.
"As imports outpaced export growth m-o-m, April’s trade surplus narrowed to RM10.9 billion, from RM14.4 billion in the previous month. In US dollar terms, imports declined at a slower pace of 1.4 per cent y-o-y in April, compared with in March at -4.5 per cent," it added.
It said the rebound in April’s trade activities was partly aided by the ringgit’s depreciation, the overall global momentum which continued to remain weak, and could likely worsen further on intensification of US-China trade tensions and an expected slowdown in global growth.
"In light of recent negative developments on the global trade front, we revise our export growth projection lower to 2.2 per cent for 2019, from 3.5 per cent previously, and from 6.7 per cent in 2018," it said. — Bernama