Malaysia says exports could drop 3-4 percent

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23, 2009 (AFP) – Malaysia’s exports could fall as much as 3-4 percent this year as demand from its trading partners evaporates, Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Monday.

“The impact is now global and Malaysia is no exception,” he told a press conference.

“The best could be 0.5 percent (growth), but we fear it might be minus in the range of 3-4 percent,” he said of 2009 export forecasts.

“That is also quite conservative and we won’t be able to know exactly until the first quarter is completed. Then we will reveal the situation.”

Finance Minister Najib Razak said last week that Malaysia would have to cut its 3.5 percent growth forecast for 2009 if the decline in the country’s exports hit double digits.

Malaysia’s exports have been dropping in recent months, with a 2.6 percent fall in October followed by a 4.9 percent drop in November and a 14.9 percent slide in December.

An influential Malaysian think-tank has already slashed its 2009 economic growth forecast to 1.3 percent.

Malaysia last year unveiled a 2.0 billion dollar stimulus package and Najib has said that a second package to be tabled on March 10 would be bigger and more comprehensive.

Source : AFP

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