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Electronics shipments boost Malaysia exports
Malaysia said Tuesday that its key exports rose 36.4 percent in March on the back of to stronger demand for electronic goods, an AFP report said.
The trade ministry said shipments jumped to 59.44 billion ringgit ($18.5 billion) while imports were up 45.3 percent to 45.09 billion ringgit. International trade minister Mustapa Mohamed said the volume of exports were at their highest since September 2008 when the global financial crisis kicked in.
The ministry said the increase was due to stronger demand for electrical and electronic products (up 31.8 percent), chemicals and chemical products (60.8 percent) and palm oil (49.3 percent).
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.
For the three months to March, exports fell 0.2 percent to 158.73 billion ringgit compared with the previous quarter, while imports contracted 5.4 percent. Export-dependent Malaysia,
Southeast Asia's third-largest economy, was hit hard by the global recession and its economy shrank 1.7 percent last year, although the central bank has forecast 5.5 percent growth for 2010.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has 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.