May 3, 2019 / 4:56 AM / in 2 months

UPDATE 1-Malaysia's March exports shrink 0.5 pct y/y

    * March exports -0.5 pct y/y vs -0.8 pct forecast in Reuters poll
    * March imports -0.1 pct y/y vs poll forecast -1.4 pct
    * March trade surplus 14.4 bln rgt vs poll forecast 14.2 bln rgt

 (Adds details, bullets, tables)
    KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 (Reuters) - Malaysia's exports fell for a second
consecutive month in March, declining 0.5 percent from a year earlier,
government data showed on Friday.
    The figure came in slightly better than the 0.8 percent annual decline
forecast by 13 economists surveyed by Reuters. In February, Malaysia's exports
had fallen 5.3 percent year-on-year, the first contraction since August 2018. 

    Malaysia's exports of palm oil and palm-oil based products, a major export
commodity, fell 10.2 percent from a year earlier, data from the Statistics
Department showed. 
    Shipments of electrical and electronic goods, which account for 37.2 percent
of the country's exports, declined 1.9 percent year-on-year, the data showed. 
    Exports of refined petroleum products, however, rose 16.2 percent in March. 
    Imports dipped 0.1 percent in March from a year earlier, slower than the
steep 9.4 percent drop seen in February.  
    Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit.
    March's trade surplus widened to 14.4 billion ringgit ($3.48 billion),
compared with the 11.1 billion ringgit registered in the previous month.
    Exports to China, a major trading partner, jumped 11.8 percent annually in
March, rebounding from a 1.6 percent fall in February.
    
    KEY DATA
    (Exports and imports in percent, trade in billions of ringgit)      
                 Mar     Feb     Jan     Dec     Nov    Oct    Sept    Aug
   Exports      84.0     66.6    82.8    83.3   84.8    96.3   83.1   81.8
                                                                      
     y/y%       -0.5     -5.3    3.1     4.8     1.6    17.7    6.7   -0.3
   Imports      69.7     55.5    73.9    72.8   77.2    80.1   67.8   80.2
                                                                      
     y/y%       -0.1     -9.4    1.0     1.0     5.0    11.4   -2.7   11.2
   Balance      14.4     11.1    11.5    10.4    7.6    16.3   15.3    1.6
                                                                      
 
      EXPORT MARKETS                    
                  March 2019   % change       
                  (bln rgt)     vs year ago    
                                       
 China               11.7            11.8
 Singapore           10.5            -6.9
 European Union      8.6             -5.0
 ASEAN               23.6            1.3
    
   ($1 = 4.1400 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and shreejay
Sinha)
  
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