June 29, 2020 / 4:04 AM / 17 days ago

Malaysia's May exports fall -25.5% y/y, worst in 11 years

* May exports -25.5% y/y vs -19.9% forecast in Reuters poll

* May imports -30.4% y/y vs -19.8% forecast in Reuters poll

* Trade surplus 10.4 bln rgt, poll forecast surplus 7.3 bln rgt

* reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/econ-polls?RIC=MYEXP%3DECI export poll data

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s exports in May plunged 25.5% from a year earlier, its worst performance in more than a decade, amid a global slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, government data showed on Monday.

The contraction was sharper than the 19.9% drop forecast by analysts surveyed by Reuters and the lowest since May 2009 when exports tumbled 29.5%, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. In April, shipments had fallen 23.8% year-on-year.

“The performance was similar in other regional countries, which recorded lower trade growth for May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that continued to slow economic activities globally,” the International Trade and Industry Ministry said in a statement.

Imports in May shrank by 30.4% from a year earlier, slowing sharply from the 8% drop recorded in April, data from the ministry showed. Analysts had expected a fall of 19.8%.

Malaysia’s trade balance returned to a surplus of 10.4 billion ringgit ($2.43 billion) in May, rebounding from the 3.5 billion ringgit deficit in April. ($1 = 4.2820 ringgit) (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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