Malaysia's exports in June fell 6.9 percent year-on-year, declining for the fifth successive month, as tepid demand from the US, China and Japan hurt shipments of palm oil and electronics and electrical products.

According to a statement from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) on August 5, exports totalled 56.75 billion RM (17.46 billion USD) in June compared with 60.97 billion RM (18.76 billion USD) in the same month a year earlier.

However, on a month-on-month basis, Malaysia 's exports increased by 1.7 percent as compared to 55.79 billion RM (17.16 billion USD) registered in May 2013.

In June, shipments of electrical and electronic products, which make up about a third of total exports, fell 5.8 percent and those of palm oil, a significant export commodity for Malaysia, decreased 30.5 percent, the ministry said.

Exports to Western markets have been hurt by the lingering euro-zone sovereign debt crisis. In June, shipments to the EU fell 1.8 percent year-on-year.

Muted demand for optical and scientific equipment dragged June exports to the US down by 8.3 percent year-on-year to 4.81 billion RM (1.48 billion USD).

Meanwhile, imports in June increased 1.3 percent from a year earlier to 52.43 billion RM (16.13 billion USD), owing to higher imports of intermediate goods and consumption goods such as electronic circuits, motor-vehicle parts, and semi-finished items used in the final assembly of computers and cars.

For the first six months of this year, exports declined 3.8 percent from a year earlier to 337.82 billion RM (103.7 billion USD) while imports expanded by 4.4 percent to 313.23 billion RM (96.37 billion USD).

The trade surplus for June widened to 4.32 billion RM (1.32 billion USD) from May's 2.88 billion RM (0.88 billion USD), making it the 188th consecutive month of trade surplus since November 1997.-VNA