KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's exports in March rose 2.2 percent year-on-year on higher manufactured goods shipment, an improvement from the 2 percent contraction in the previous month.
According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry Malaysia data, exports growth was supported by higher shipments of manufactured goods, which was up 3.7 percent. Electrical and electronics products remained the major driver, rising 8.7 percent, reports Xinhua.Exports of mining goods expanded 1.5 percent, supported by higher exports of crude petroleum. Shipments of agriculture goods, however, slumped 11.2 percent, dragged by lower exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products as well as natural rubber.
Regionally, the exports growth was supported mainly by higher exports to Hong Kong, the European Union (EU), India, South Korea, Taiwan and South Africa, said the ministry.
Meanwhile, imports in March fell 9.6 percent annually.
Total trade for the month also dropped 3.5 percent year-on-year to 154.25 billion ringgit.
As for the first quarter, total trade grew 2.5 percent to 430.5 billion ringgit. Exports increased by 5.8 percent year-on-year, while imports fell 0.8 percent. A trade surplus of 33.37 billion ringgit was recorded for the period.
While March exports growth was in line with Affin Investment Bank's chief economist Alan Tan expectation, he said the sharp drop in imports was disappointing as exporters seem to have turned cautious on future demand amid the potential trade war.