July 4, 2019 / 4:02 AM / 13 days ago

Malaysia's May exports rise 2.5% y/y, below forecast

    * May exports +2.5% y/y vs 3.6% forecast in Reuters poll
    * May imports +1.4 pct y/y vs poll forecast 2.6%
    * May trade surplus 9.1 bln rgt vs poll forecast 8.2 bln rgt
    * Exports to China -2.2% y/y; Exports to U.S. +11.7 

    KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 (Reuters) - Malaysia's exports rose in May amid a surge
in palm oil shipments, though the pace of growth was slower than expected,
government data showed on Thursday.
    Exports grew 2.5% in May from a year earlier, below the 3.6% expansion
forecast by economists in a Reuters poll. In April, exports had risen 1.1%.

    Agricultural exports rose in May for the first time in 15 months, surging
15.3% year-on-year on the back of higher shipments of palm oil, a major export
commodity for Malaysia, data from the International Trade and Industry Ministry
showed.
    Exports of manufactured goods, which accounted for more than 84% of total
exports, grew 3.1% in May, the data showed.
    Exports of mining goods, however, fell 10.9% on lower volumes of crude oil
and liquefied natural gas.
    Imports grew 1.4% in May from a year earlier, easing from the 4.4% rise seen
in April.
    Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit.
    Trade surplus in May narrowed to 9.1 billion ringgit ($2.2 billion) from
10.9 billion ringgit in the previous month.
    Exports to China, a major trading partner, declined 2.2% amid lower
shipments of manufactured goods.
    Exports to the United States, however, jumped 11.7% on higher demand for
electrical and electronic products, palm oil and related products, and other
manufactured goods.

    KEY DATA
    (Exports and imports in percent, trade in billions of ringgit)
                 May    April  March   Feb    Jan    Dec   Nov    Oct   Sept
   Exports      84.2    85.2   84.0   66.6   82.8   83.3   84.8  96.3   83.1
                                                                        
     y/y%       +2.5    +1.1   -0.5   -5.3    3.1    4.8   1.6   17.7    6.7
   Imports      75.1    74.4   69.7   55.5   73.9   72.8   77.2  80.1   67.8
                                                                        
     y/y%       +1.4    +4.4   -0.1   -9.4    1.0    1.0   5.0   11.4   -2.7
   Balance       9.1    10.9   14.4   11.1   11.5   10.4   7.6   16.3   15.3
                                                                        
 
    MAIN EXPORTS
                         May 2019      % of      % change  
                                                     
                         (bln rgt)    total    vs year ago 
                                                     
 Electrical &              29.6        34.9        0.5
 Electronic Products                           
 Petroleum products         6.9        8.2        -14.9
 Chemicals and              4.9        5.8         7.7
 chemicals products                            
                                               
 Palm oil & Palm-based      4.3        5.1         17.5
 agricultural products                         
 Manufactures of metal      4.1        4.8         -6.8
                                               
 Machinery                  3.8        4.5         14.9
 Optical and                3.0        3.6         3.8
 scientific equipment                          
 Liquefied natural gas      3.0        3.5         -5.2
                                               
 Crude petroleum            2.5        3.0        -20.0
 Rubber products            2.2        2.7         7.5
    
  EXPORT MARKETS                    
                   May 2019       % of      % change       
                  (bln rgt)      total       vs year ago    
                                                    
 China               11.3         13.4            -2.2
 Singapore           11.4         13.6            2.6
 USA                 7.8           9.3            11.7
 Japan               6.0           7.1            7.5
 Hong Kong           5.4           6.4            3.4
 
 ($1 = 4.1325 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
  
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