Exports up 18.4% year-on-year

KUALA LUMPUR: The government announced yesterday that its exports, the mainstay of the economy, rose 18.4 percent year-on-year in February due to stronger demand for electronic goods and commodities.
The trade ministry said in a statement shipments rose to RM46.84 billion ringgit while imports were up 27.9 percent to RM35.17 billion, producing a surplus of RM11.67 billion.

The ministry said the increase was due to higher exports of electrical and electronic products (up 23.5 percent), crude petroleum (125.7 percent) and palm oil (31.3 percent), among others.

Electrical and electronic items account for more than one-third of Malaysia's total exports to key markets such as China, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and the United States.

Export-dependent Malaysia, Southeast Asia's third-largest economy, was hit by the global slowdown as its economy shrank 1.7 percent last year but the central bank has forecast a 5.5 percent expansion for this year.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak this week unveiled plans for bold economic reforms, including an overhaul of racial preferences for majority Malays, in a bid to boost growth and attract badly needed foreign investment.

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