October 5, 2018 / 4:05 AM / 2 months ago

Malaysia's August export growth falls 0.3 pct y/y, below forecast

    * Aug exports -0.3 pct y/y vs Reuters poll +5.7 pct
    * Aug imports +11.2 pct y/y vs poll forecast +10.1 pct 
    * Aug surplus 1.6 bln rgt vs poll forecast 9 bln rgt
    * Exports to China +4.5 pct y/y; to the U.S. -2 pct y/y

    KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Malaysia's exports fell in August for the
first time in six months, hit by declining shipments of palm oil and slowing
demand from the United States, government data showed on Friday.
    Exports fell 0.3 percent in August from a year earlier, sharply below the
5.7 percent rise forecast by a Reuters poll and down from July's 9.4 percent
growth.
    It was the first annual decline since February, when exports fell 2 percent.

    Shipments of manufactured goods, which account for about 84 percent of
Malaysia's total exports, rose 1.8 percent year-on-year in August, slowing from
a 12.6 percent annual rise the previous month, the International Trade and
Industry Ministry said in a statement.
    Exports of mining goods rose 5.5 percent from a year earlier in August, the
ministry's data showed. 
    But agricultural exports declined sharply, falling 20.8 percent
year-on-year, on lower volumes and prices of palm oil. 
    Imports in August remained robust, rising 11.2 percent from a year earlier,
up slightly from the 10.3 percent growth seen in July.     
    Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit. 
    The trade surplus in August shrunk to 1.6 billion ringgit ($386.2
million)from 8.3 billion ringgit the previous month. 
    Malaysia's exports to the United States fell 2 percent year-on-year in
August, amid lower demand for electrical and electronic goods, palm oil and
transport equipment.     
    
    KEY DATA   
    (Exports and imports in percent, trade in billions of ringgit)      
                 Aug     July     June    May    April   March    Feb     Jan
    Exports      81.8    86.1     78.7    82.1    84.2    84.5   70.3    82.9
                                                                        
     y/y%        -0.3     9.4     7.6     3.4      14     2.2    -2.0    17.9
    Imports      80.2    77.8     72.6    74.0    71.2    69.8   61.3    73.2
                                                                        
     y/y%        11.2    10.3     14.9    0.1     9.1     -9.6   -2.8    11.6
    Balance      1.6      8.3     6.0     8.1     13.1    14.7    9.0    9.7
                                                                        
 
    MAIN EXPORTS
                         Aug 2018      % of      % change  
                                                     
                         (bln rgt)    total    vs year ago 
                                                     
 Electrical &              32.0        39.2        3.2
 Electronic Products                           
 Petroleum products         5.1        6.2         -3.3
 Chemicals and              5.0        6.1         22.6
 chemicals products                            
                                               
 Manufactures of metal      3.2        4.1         -1.8
 Palm oil & Palm-based      3.3        4.0        -27.0
 agricultural products                         
                                               
 Crude petroleum            3.3        4.0         64.9
 Machinery                  3.2        3.9         -7.1
 Liquefied natural gas      3.2        3.9        -22.5
                                               
 Optical and                3.1        3.8         7.9
 scientific equipment                          
 Rubber products            2.3        2.8         2.9
    
  EXPORT MARKETS                    
                   Aug 2018       % of      % change       
                  (bln rgt)      total       vs year ago    
                                                    
 China               11.8         14.5            4.5
 Singapore           11.8         14.4            -2.2
 USA                 7.8           9.5             -2
 Hong Kong           5.9           7.2            55.8
 Japan               4.8           5.9           -22.9
 
($1 = 4.1430 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Sunil Nair)
  
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