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[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's exports in May rose 32.5 per cent from a year earlier, significantly above expectations, as shipments of manufactured goods surged, government data showed on Friday.
The growth pace beat the 21.3 per cent forecast by a Reuters poll and April's 20.6 per cent growth.
Export growth outpaced those of imports for the first time since May 2016, data from the International Trade and Industry Ministry showed. Imports rose 30.4 per cent from a year earlier, up from the 24.7 per cent in April.
The trade surplus in May narrowed to RM5.5 billion (S$1.77 billion) from April's RM8.8 billion.
Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit. The currency has been one of Asia's best-performing ones this year, strengthening about 3 per cent in the second quarter.
Exports to China rose 51.5 per cent from a year earlier, the highest annual growth since February 2010, on higher demand for electrical and electronic goods as well as petroleum products.
Shipments to the United States rose 16.3 per cent on rising shipments of manufactured goods, while those to the European Union grew 29.7 per cent.