Kuala Lumpur (The Star/ANN) - Malaysia's exports in September unexpectedly rose despite the volatile global economic environment, with shipments of electrical and electronic products supporting growth.
The Statistics Department said that September's exports grew 2.6 per cent year-on-year to 60.21 billion ringgit (US$19.66 billion) helped by the growth of exports to Asean countries, the United States, India and Taiwan.
Imports rose by 9.6 per cent to 53.74 billion ringgit in September.
The jump in exports exceeded economists forecast of a 2.9 per cent decrease, especially after the country's exports slumped 4.5 per cent in August, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Exports of manufactured goods in September grew 2.4 per cent year-on-year and 7.6 per cent month-on-month to 40.86 billion ringgit.
Major export products for the month were electrical and electronic products (35.4%), liquefied natural gas (8.1 per cent), palm oil which includes crude palm oil; fractionated palm oil; palm kernel oil, olein and stearin (7.8 per cent), refined petroleum products (6.7 per cent), and chemicals and chemical products (6 per cent).
Meanwhile, exports to Asean countries recorded double-digit growth of 18.9 per cent to 16.3 billion ringgit, accounting for 27.1 per cent of Malaysia's total exports. This was due to higher exports of both commodities and manufactured goods.
Exports to the United States grew for the fifth consecutive month since May, and rose 6.3 per cent year-on-year to 5.27 billion ringgit, contributed mainly by electrical and electronic products.
However, total exports to China decreased by 10.8 per cent to 7.66 billion ringgit, due to lower exports of rubber and palm oil.
Exports to Japan in September also decreased by 2.2 per cent to 7.04 billion ringgit owing to lower exports of liquefied natural gas.
Exports to the European Union (EU) in September decreased by 12.5 per cent to 5.14 billion ringgit due to weaker demand for electrical and electronic products, rubber as well as chemicals and chemical products.
For the first nine months of 2012, Malaysia's total trade expanded by 4.3 per cent year-on-year to 982.74 billion ringgit as exports rose by 1.7 per cent to 525.50 billion while imports grew by 7.6 per cent to 457.24 billion ringgit.
Exports of manufactured goods for January till September 2012 was valued at 353.51 billion ringgit, accounting of 67.3 per cent of total exports.
Malaysia's top five export destinations were Singapore (71.62 billion ringgit or 13.6 per cent), China (66.45 billion ringgit or 12.6 per cent), Japan (63.50 billion ringgit or 12.1 per cent), United States (45.65 billion ringgit or 8.7 per cent) and Thailand (28.25 billion ringgit or 5.4 per cent).
US$1 = 3.06 Malaysian ringgit