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May 7, 2008

Surplus shrinks as exports to US slow down

Malaysia's trade surplus continued to shrink in March as exports to the United States, the country's top trading partner, fell in line with a weakening economy, figures released on Tuesday showed.

The surplus in March hit 7.98 billion ringgit ($2.6 billion), 22 percent higher from the same period last year on modest exports, AFP reported.

But the March trade surplus was down 12 percent from February and fell 17.9 percent from January due to a slowdown in exports of electronic and electrical goods to the United States.

Exports totalled 51.57 billion ringgit, a 5.3 percent increase from March 2007 but rose 9.5 percent from February 2008.

"Major product sectors which contributed to the increase in exports were palm oil, crude petroleum, refined petroleum products, manufacturers of metal and liquefied natural gas," the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said.

March imports expanded by 2.6 percent from last year to 43.59 billion ringgit and were 14.8 percent higher against imports in February.

Malaysia's exports to the United States, its main trading partner, fell to 6.33 billion ringgit in March compared to1 8.1 billion ringgit in the same period last year on lower exports of electrical and electronic products, the ministry said.

Exports to the United States in February was 6.04 billion ringgit down from 7.17 billion ringgit in January.

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