Sunday, May 22, 2011

Malaysia exports up 7.8% in March

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia said Friday its exports, the mainstay of the country's economy, rose 7.8 percent year-on-year in March, as world trade picked up.The trade ministry said exports had reached 64.06 billion ringgit ($21.35 billion) while imports increased by 12.1 percent to hit 50.53 billion ringgit.Total trade for March saw an annual increase of 9.6 percent to 114.59 billion ringgit. The rise in exports was lower than that of February, which saw a 10.8 percent increase on the previous year.Eonomist Yeah Kim Leng said the slight drop on the previous month was all part of the pattern of global recovery."Following the global downturn export numbers were down as industries and exporters drew down on their inventories and as things improved in 2010, they rebuilt and restocked their inventories," he said."As we are now back to trend growth in 2011, it is not surprising that there are declines as last year's figures were high as a result of restocking inventories," Yeah added."The important thing is not the slight month to month declines but that the present figures are still very high compared to the same period last year."The export increases were mainly due to electrical and electronic products, palm oil, liquefied natural gas, chemicals and chemical products.Electrical and electronic items make up close to 40 percent of Malaysia's total exports to key markets such as Singapore, China, United States, Japan and Hong Kong.Although hit hard by the global economic slowdown, Southeast Asia's third-largest economy rebounded with an impressive 7.2 percent growth in 2010 and it is expected to grow five to six percent this year.Since taking power in 2009 premier Najib Razak has unveiled a series of economic reforms aimed at creating 3.3 million jobs and pushing the country towards developed nation status by 2020.Among his promises are major infrastructure projects and financial market liberalisation, which came with a vow to stimulate the private sector to attract much-needed foreign investment.

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