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Malaysia's May exports rise 2.5% y-o-y, below forecast

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's exports rose in May amid a surge in palm oil shipments, though the pace of growth was slower than expected, government data showed on Thursday. Exports grew 2.5 per cent in May from a year earlier, below the 3.6 per cent expansion forecast by economists in a Reuters poll. In April, exports had risen 1.1 per cent.

Agricultural exports rose in May for the first time in 15 months, surging 15.3 per cent year-on-year on the back of higher shipments of palm oil, a major export commodity for Malaysia, data from the International Trade and Industry Ministry showed. Exports of manufactured goods, which accounted for more than 84 per cent of total exports, grew 3.1 per cent in May, the data showed.

Exports of mining goods, however, fell 10.9 per cent on lower volumes of crude oil and liquefied natural gas. Imports grew 1.4 per cent in May from a year earlier, easing from the 4.4 per cent rise seen in April. 

Trade surplus in May narrowed to RM9.1 billion (S$3 billion) from RM10.9 billion in the previous month. Exports to China, a major trading partner, declined 2.2 per cent amid lower shipments of manufactured goods. Exports to the United States, however, jumped 11.7 per cent on higher demand for electrical and electronic products, palm oil and related products, and other manufactured goods.