Malaysia: Exports contract for the first time in over three years
March 9, 2012
In January, exports declined 1.8% in USD terms over the same month last year. The reading contrasted the previous month's 4.3% increase and undershot market expectations. In fact, the January print represents the first monthly contraction since September 2009. Exports suffered from lower external demand for electrical and electronic products as well as for crude petroleum. In part, the weaker result reflects the Chinese New Year holidays, which disrupted regional trade in January. Meanwhile, imports added only 1.0% in January, after increasing 8.7% in December, which constitutes the slowest expansion recorded since September 2009. As a result, the trade surplus widened from USD 2.6 billion in December to USD 2.8 billion in January. Trade figures were highly distorted by the Lunar New Year holiday as most of the Asian countries closed or reduced production during the break.