* April exports -23.8% y/y vs -15.1% forecast in Reuters poll
* April imports -8% y/y vs -14.4% forecast in Reuters poll
* Trade deficit 3.5 bln rgt, poll forecast surplus 11.1 bln rgt
* reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/econ-polls?RIC=MYEXP%3DECI export poll data
KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s exports tumbled 23.8% in April from a year earlier, the steepest fall in a decade, as the COVID-19 pandemic badly disrupted the global supply chain, the government said on Thursday.
The fall to 64.92 billion ringgit ($15.21 billion) was much wider than a 15.1% contraction forecast by analysts surveyed by Reuters.
Imports shrank by 8% to 68.42 billion ringgit, data from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) showed. Analysts had expected a fall of 14.4%.
“Malaysia’s exports are expected to improve in the coming months as the government allowed more industries to resume operations and at full operating capacity since May 4, 2020,” MITI minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said in a statement.
The country swung to a trade deficit of 3.5 billion ringgit in April after 269 straight months of surplus, the government said. ($1 = 4.2670 ringgit) (Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman) ))