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Malaysia's January exports surge 17.9 pct y/y, above forecast

Malaysia's January exports surge 17.9 pct y/y, above forecast

Jan exports +17.9 pct y/y vs Reuters poll +11.4 pct
    *   Jan imports +11.6 pct y/y vs poll forecast +8 pct
    *   Trade surplus 9.7 bln rgt vs poll forecast of 7.3 bln rgt
    *   Exports to China +17.9 pct, to U.S. +8.7 pct

Malaysia's exports jumped 17.9 percent in January from a year earlier, surging after two months of slower growth, on the back of higher demand for manufactured, mining and agricultural goods, government data showed on Monday.

    The growth in exports was above the 11.4 percent rise forecast by a Reuters poll, and up sharply from the 4.7 percent recorded in December. January's exports were driven by higher shipments of manufactured goods, which rose 20.4 percent from a year earlier, data from the International Trade and Industry Ministry showed. Most of the goods were electrical and electronics products.

    Exports of mining goods rose 8.5 percent annually on higher prices and volumes of liquefied natural gas, the data showed, while shipments of agricultural goods, particularly palm oil and palm oil-based products, grew 6.2 percent. Imports in January rose 11.6 percent from a year earlier, up from the 7 percent growth the previous month.

    Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit. The currency was one of Asia's best performers in the past year, strengthening about 12 percent. January's trade surplus widened to 9.7 billion ringgit ($2.49 billion), compared to 7.3 billion ringgit in December.

    Exports to China surged 17.9 percent from a year earlier in January, on higher demand for chemicals, electrical and electronic products.  Shipments to the United States were up 8.7 percent on year, while exports to the European Union rose 13.6 percent.
    KEY DATA   
    (Exports and imports in percent, trade in billions of ringgit)      
                 Jan      Dec     Nov     Oct     Sept    Aug     July    June
   Exports      82.9     79.3     83.5    82.4    78.3    82.2    78.6    73.1
     y/y%       17.9      4.7     14.4    18.9    14.8    21.5    30.9     10
   Imports      73.2     72.1     73.6    71.9    69.7    72.4    70.6    63.2
     y/y%       11.6      7.9     15.2    20.9    15.2    22.6    21.8    3.7
   Balance       9.7      7.3     10.0    10.6    8.6     9.9     8.03    9.88

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