Malaysia January export growth slows

Malaysia's exports reportedly rose a weaker-than-expected 0.4 percent year-on-year in January owing to a sharp fall in demand from major markets including China and Europe.

The trade ministry said overseas shipments, the main engine of the country's economy, came in at posted 55.07 billion ringgit ($18.1 billion), with petroleum, and iron and steel providing most support.

Yeah Kim Leng, chief economist with financial research firm RAM Holdings told AFP the slowdown in exports would need to be countered by bolstering domestic demand if the government is to achieve its goal of 4.0-5.0 percent growth this year.

"It looks like the slowdown in Europe has translated into a sharp fall in our exports. The more worrying thing is our exports to China, which traditionally has supported our economy, have also declined."

China's huge economy, which many regional nations rely on to boost their own growth, is witnessing a slowdown as its own exports suffer from the ongoing debt crisis in Europe as well as the stuttering recovery in the United States.

"We expect Malaysian exports to experience very weak growth in the first half of this year," Yeah added.

Exports to China plunged 12.2 percent, while those to the European Union sank 14.5 percent.

Malaysia's major export markets in January were Japan, Singapore, China and the United States.

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 1 hour 56 minutes ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 2 hours 52 minutes ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • Why you can't buy America's greenest car 6 hours ago
    Why you can't buy America's greenest car

    Ask me or any auto expert what's the fastest car you can buy for any given amount, and we could easily cough up several options. Same for most luxurious, or off-roadable, or any other measurement. Yet there's one type of question that's far harder to answer: What's the greenest, most environmentally friendly car you can buy today?

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania
    McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.