Commodity Export Earnings Likely to Rebound This Year

MALAYSIA’S commodity export earnings, which are forecast to dip by a
quarter in 2009, are likely to post a rebound this year, in tandem with
the global economic improvement.

The country registered a record RM112.4 billion in export earnings in
2008 from commodities, including palm oil, rubber, cocoa and timber.

However, 2009’s export earnings are expected to fall due to declining
commodity prices caused by the global economic crisis. It would be the
first annual decline in four years as commodity prices such as crude
palm oil more than halved due to a depressed global market.

The Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry is expected to release the commodity export figures by the end of March.

Its minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said export
figures were showing signs of improvement towards the end of last year
as buyers flocked once again to the market to stock up depleting

“Export value of Malaysia’s commodities in 2009 is expected to shrink
by 25 per cent, but I feel it will bounce back this year, in line with
a better world economy,” he told reporters after a rubber producers
meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

Dompok cited increasing
natural rubber prices, which have breached the RM10kg mark this month –
a level last seen in June 2008 – due to limited supply and robust
demand from tyre and rubber glove makers.

Palm oil export earnings are expected to dip by 25 per cent to RM50 billion in 2009.

For palm oil and palm oil-related products, exports hit a record RM65.2
billion in 2008, a 44.3 per cent jump compared with RM45.1 billion a
year in 2007 as crude palm oil prices rose to a historical high of
RM4,486 per tonne in March 2008.

Timber exports are also
expected to dip 13 per cent to RM20 billion in 2009 from RM23 billion
in 2008 due to the global economic slowdown. Malaysia exported RM22.7
billion worth of timber and timber products in 2007.

ministry’s Deputy Minister, Datuk Hamzah Zainudin, had earlier this
month said exports of cocoa beans and cocoa-based products are expected
to surpass RM3 billion this year as the global economy shows positive
signs of recovery.

Last year, cocoa exports were estimated at RM2.8 billion compared with RM3.3 billion recorded in 2008.

Source : Business Times
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