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[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's January exports fell for the first time in eight months on weak global economic conditions and a slide in oil and gas shipments, government data showed on Friday, confounding economists'expectations for a rise.
Exports in January declined 2.8 per cent from a year earlier, compared with 1.4 per cent growth in December and a Reuters poll forecast of 2.5 per cent. It last declined in May 2015.
The Southeast Asian country's exports had expanded at a slower pace in the last two months, hit by weak global prices for commodity shipments and a slowdown in China, Malaysia's largest trading partner.
Imports in January rose 3.3 per cent from a year earlier, picking up from 3.2 percent the previous month.
January's trade surplus was a smaller RM5.39 billion (S$1.8 billion) compared with RM7.99 billion in December.
Exports to the EU grew 6.4 per cent, while US exports rose 7.9 per cent supported by higher exports of manufactured goods.