The Star Malaysia - StarBiz

Slight growth in exports seen

Exports expected to have rebounded 1.6% in April after falling 0.1% in March


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s exports in April are expected to have rebounded at a slow pace from a year earlier after registerin­g a drop in the preceding month.

According to a poll of nine economists by Bloomberg, exports for April should grow 1.6% year-on-year (y-oy), after falling 0.1% y-o-y in March, due to the weak global economic environmen­t.

The Department of Statistics is expected to release Malaysia’s April trade figures on Wednesday.

The country’s trade surplus would likely have narrowed to RM9.6bil in April from RM10.45bil in the preceding month, as imports are expected to have accelerate­d at a faster pace of 6% y-o-y, compared with a growth of only 1.6% y-o-y in March.

TA Research had said in its earlier report that volatility in exports and imports growth was to be expected in tandem with the restocking of low inventorie­s and adjustment­s for seasonal factors.

According to Maybank Kim Eng, short-term leading indicators are already pointing to continued volatility in export growth going into the second quarter of 2012.

It pointed out that the manufactur­ing Purchasing Managers’ Index figures in April throughout the region were marginally softer. It noted, however, that there were some positive trends emerging in other forward indicators such as the pickup in US Institute for Supply Management new manufactur­ing orders, the index of which rose to 58.2 in April from 54.5 in the previous month, alongside the recovery of the book-to-bill ratio of global chip sales as published by the Semiconduc­tors industry associatio­n in March to 1.13 from a low of 0.71 back in September last year.

This, it said, should provide some support to Asia’s exports amid the ongoing uncertaint­ies in Europe.

CIMB Research had noted that there was no doubt that Malaysia’s exports growth would slow this year and remained a drag on overall gross domestic product growth. The research outfit had forecast an exports growth of 3% to 4% for 2012, after growing 8.7% last year.

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