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[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's exports posted surprise growth in June, rebounding 3.4 per cent from a year earlier, on higher shipments of manufactured goods, government data showed on Friday.
The growth figure contrasts with a 4.2 per cent decline forecast by a Reuters poll, and is up from the 0.9 per cent slide recorded in May.
Annual exports of manufactured goods grew 6.7 per cent, despite lower shipments of palm oil and liquefied natural gas, according to data from the International Trade and Industry Ministry.
Malaysia's imports in June grew 8.3 per cent from a year earlier, up from the previous month's 3.1 per cent rise.
June's trade surplus was RM5.5 billion (S$1.83 billion), up from RM3.3 billion in May.
Exports to the US rose 22 per cent, the highest annual growth recorded this year, driven by higher demand for electrical and electronic products, as well as optical and scientific equipment.
Exports to the European Union grew 4.1 per cent from a year earlier, but those to China fell 20.3 per cent, due to lower exports of commodities and manufactured goods.
In the first half of 2016, exports grew 1.2 per cent while imports rose 1.4 per cent from the same period last year. A trade surplus of RM41.8 billion was recorded, compared with RM41.7 billion in the first half of 2015.