Friday, Indonesia's central bank lowered its key interest rate by a quarter point to the lowest level on record to safeguard the slowing economy. Malaysia's exports continued to decrease for the fifth straight month.

The Bank Indonesia slashed its policy rate to 7.50% from 7.75%, its fifth straight month of reduction. The decision was in line with economists' expectations. This took a total reduction of 175 basis points so far this year. Further, the central bank lowered its growth forecast for 2009 to 3%-4% from 4% in March.

Malaysia's trade surplus increased to MYR11.97 billion in February from a surplus of MYR8.83 billion in the previous month, the Department of Statistics said. Economists expected the surplus to come in at MYR8.5 billion. Exports dropped 15.9% year-on-year, while imports plunged 27.3% in February. Exports marked fifth straight month of decrease.

Thailand's international reserves declined to US$116.38 billion as on March 27 from US$116.99 billion as on March 20, the Bank of Thailand said.

Elsewhere, The Reserve Bank of India revealed in a report that nation's foreign reserves stood at US$ 252.33 billion as on March 27, down from US$ 253.83 billion as on March 20.

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