KUALA LUMPUR: Exports in September unexpectedly rose despite the volatile global economic environment, with shipments of electrical and electronic products supporting growth.
The Statistics Department said that September's exports grew 2.6% year-on-year to RM60.21bil helped by the growth of exports to Asean countries, the United States, India and Taiwan.
Imports rose by 9.6% to RM53.74bil in September.
The jump in exports exceeded economists forecast of a 2.9% decrease, especially after the country's exports slumped 4.5% in August, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Exports of manufactured goods in September grew 2.4% year-on-year and 7.6% month-on-month to RM40.86bil.
Major export products for the month were electrical and electronic products (35.4%), liquefied natural gas (8.1%), palm oil which includes crude palm oil; fractionated palm oil; palm kernel oil, olein and stearin (7.8%), refined petroleum products (6.7%), and chemicals and chemical products (6%).
Meanwhile, exports to Asean countries recorded double-digit growth of 18.9% to RM16.3bil, accounting for 27.1% of Malaysia's total exports. This was due to higher exports of both commodities and manufactured goods.
Exports to the United States grew for the fifth consecutive month since May, and rose 6.3% year-on-year to RM5.27bil, contributed mainly by electrical and electronic products.
However, total exports to China decreased by 10.8% to RM7.66bil, due to lower exports of rubber and palm oil.
Exports to Japan in September also decreased by 2.2% to RM7.04bil owing to lower exports of liquefied natural gas.
Exports to the European Union (EU) in September decreased by 12.5% to RM5.14bil due to weaker demand for electrical and electronic products, rubber as well as chemicals and chemical products.
For the first nine months of 2012, Malaysia's total trade expanded by 4.3% year-on-year to RM982.74bil as exports rose by 1.7% to RM525.50bil while imports grew by 7.6% to RM457.24bil.
Exports of manufactured goods for January till September 2012 was valued at RM353.51bil, accounting of 67.3% of total exports.
Malaysia's top five export destinations were Singapore (RM71.62bil or 13.6%), China (RM66.45bil or 12.6%), Japan (RM63.50bil or 12.1%), United States (RM45.65bil or 8.7%) and Thailand (RM28.25bil or 5.4%).