[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's exports fell 9.7 per cent in February from a year earlier, the biggest drop since September 2009, due to a continued slump in oil prices and a weakening Chinese economy that cut the value of commodity shipments, government data showed on Friday.
Imports were up 0.4 per cent from a year earlier due to an increase in electrical and electronic products, as well as metal products.
A Reuters poll had forecast exports would drop 1.9 per cent, while imports were expected to rise 1.4 per cent.
The trade surplus for the month narrowed to RM4.5 billion (S$1.66 billion) from RM9.01 billion in January.
In February, the ringgit fell to 3.64 to a dollar from 3.63 at the end of January.
A weaker ringgit had previously helped sustain exports of the country's mainstay electrical and electronic products but February's data showed that shipments from the sector contracted, and there was a continued drop in exports of energy and commodities.
Exports to China declined 21.3 percent from a year earlier.