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Tropical Timber Market in Malaysia (1st–15th May 2020)

Furniture makersface huge losses due to lockdown

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority(MIDA) has reported the Muar Furniture Associationpresident Ong Yeou Huan as saying Association membersexpect to lose about RM500 million in revenue because ofthe month long lockdown. The wood-based industry inPeninsula Malaysia was not categorised as an essentialsector so operations were brought to a halt.

Some restrictions eased but not business as usual

The Malaysian government recently announced a fourthextension to 9 June of the ‘movement control order(lockdown) but with some other restrictions eased.On May 4, the government implemented a conditional lockdown under which restrictions on most economic wereremoved. However analysts write,“It is not business asusual. All businesses that are allowed to open must follow strictrules on close contact, face masks, distancing and limit inter-state movement.”The period of the latest extensionto 9 June spans severalmajor Malaysian events thatwould normally involve movement of many people. The first is Hari Raya Aidilfitri, a national celebration for Muslims; in earlyJune, Sabah will celebrate their Kaamatan Festival while Sarawak celebrates Gawai Festival.However, because ofthe continuing restricts there should be no interstatetravel.

All mass social, cultural and religious gathering areprohibited, no team sports are allowed and educationalinstitutions remain closed.

Central Bank cutsinterest rates

Bank Negara (Central Bank) cut interest rates to try andcushion the negative economic impact of the pandemic.The latest cut was the biggest in a decade bringing the ratedown to a level previously only seen during the global financial crisis.

Furniture manufacturers urged to maintain close links with US buyers

Malaysian furniture industry players should preparethemselves for opportunities to export various types offurniture to the United States, post-Covid-19 according to the US trade journal Furniture Today.The journal editor said manufacturers in Malaysia shouldmaintain a strong partnership with their respective UScustomers so as to be ready to resume business.

MIFF re-scheduled to 2021

Organisers of the Malaysian International Furniture Fair,one of the biggest industry shows in Southeast Asia, have rescheduled the26th edition to 2021 in view of the globalcoronavirus pandemic. The 2021 event will be held fromMarch 8-11 at the Malaysia International Trade andExhibition Centre (MITEC) and Putra World Trade Centre.The show was planned for its traditional opening in Marchthis year and first postponed to June however the organisers said that taking into account the significant disruption of international travel and restrictions onmovement within Malaysia they decided to reschedule.

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