KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s exports rose better than expected in January, but the pace of growth was slower than the previous month as palm oil shipments fell, government data showed on Monday.

FILE PHOTO – Malaysia’s flag is seen at the landmark Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur March 5, 2008. REUTERS/Beawiharta/File Photo

Exports grew 3.1 percent in January from a year earlier, above the 1.4 percent rise forecast in a Reuters poll. In December, exports grew 4.8 percent.

January’s export growth was driven largely by higher shipments of manufactured and mining goods, data from the International Trade and Industry Ministry showed.

Exports of mining goods rose 10.5 percent year-on-year in January, on higher volumes and prices of liquefied natural gas, the data showed.

Shipments of manufactured goods, which accounted for over 82.3 percent of total exports, grew 2.9 percent.

But exports of palm oil, a major export commodity for Malaysia, fell 16.6 percent year-on-year, the ministry said.

Imports rose 1 percent in January from a year earlier, unchanged from the growth rate posted in December.

Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit.

January’s trade surplus came in at 11.5 billion ringgit ($2.82 billion), compared with the 10.4 billion ringgit registered in the previous month.

Exports to China, a major trading partner, rebounded in January, rising 9.1 percent year-on-year, after a 0.5 percent annual decline in December.

Meanwhile, exports to the United States grew 9.4 percent, amid strong demand for manufactured goods.

Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier


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