[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's exports unexpectedly expanded in August, government data showed on Friday, driven by higher shipments of manufactured goods and rising palm oil prices.
Exports in August rose 1.5 per cent from a year earlier, compared with the 1.6 decline forecast by a Reuters poll. In July, exports slid 5.3 per cent, the biggest on-year drop in 15 months.
Exports of palm oil and manufactured goods expanded by 19.9 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively, which offset falling earnings from shipments of liquefied natural gas, data from the International Trade and Industry Ministry showed.
Malaysia's imports also rebounded in August, rising 4.9 per cent from a year earlier, compared with the previous month's 4.8 per cent decline.
August's trade surplus was RM8.5 billion (S$2.8 billion), much wider than the previous month's RM1.9 billion.
Exports to China fell 1.3 per cent from a year earlier on lower shipments of metal, manufactured goods and rubber, while those to the European Union grew 0.5 per cent.
Exports to the US grew 5.2 per cent from a year earlier, due to higher demand for electrical and electronic products, particularly photosensitive semi-conductor devices.