In Malaysia, talk in the timber industry and most industrial sectors is focused on the coronavirus and how it will affect business.
Trade analysts in Malaysia are reporting a mood of pessimism among the timber exporters with some anticipating “very bad business” as the disruptions from the latest coronavirus outbreak are weakening an already disrupted global market.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak becoming an epidemic, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) urged the government to bring forward its planned stimulus packages to address the risks Malaysia faces from the US-China trade dispute.
The measures proposed to diversify Malaysian exports include intensifying the buy ‘Made-in-Malaysia’ campaign, concluding the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP) and implementation of free trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The FMM called for a further range of measures to protect Malaysian exporters and manufacturers.
China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for a decade and trade reached over RM300 bil. last year. This trade is now at risk according to the president of FMM as China’s imports are set to be considerably lower especially in the first half of this year.