Malaysia's November exports drop for fourth straight month

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia’s exports dropped for the fourth straight month in November, contracting 5.5% from a year earlier on lower shipments of manufactured goods and commodities, government data showed on Friday.

The pace of decline was faster than the 4.4% drop forecast by analysts surveyed in a Reuters poll, though slower than the 6.7% fall recorded in October.

Shipments of manufacturing goods, which accounted for 85% of November’s total exports, fell 2.8% on-year on lower demand for electrical and electronic goods, petroleum, chemical, and metal products, data from the international trade and industry ministry showed.

Mining and agricultural exports also declined on lower shipments of liquefied natural gas, palm oil and palm oil-based products.

Exports to major markets including Southeast Asia, Japan and Hong Kong declined in November, but exports to China - Malaysia’s biggest trading partner - advanced 4.1%, recovering after a drop in the previous month.

Shipments to the United States were also up 6.5% on-year, according to the data.

Malaysia’s imports in November fell 3.6% from a year earlier, slower than the 8.7% decline seen in October.

The country reports trade data in ringgit.

The trade surplus in November narrowed sharply to 6.5 billion ringgit ($1.59 billion) from 17.3 billion ringgit in the previous month.

($1 = 4.0960 ringgit)

Reporting by Rozanna Latiff, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips