KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysia saw exports in July increase 3.5 per cent from a year earlier as demand for electrical and electronic goods surged, government data showed on Friday (Sept 4).
According to the median forecast from a Reuters poll, economists had forecast exports would rise 3.2 per cent on the back of a weakening ringgit currency, although individual estimates varied.
Exports of manufactured products helped boost July's figure as demand for electronic integrated circuits grew, especially from China.
Despite a weaker ringgit, imports did much better than expected, rising 5.9 per cent from last year due to increases in imports of electronic circuits, petroleum oils and medicament. Economists had predicted a 0.8 per cent drop.
This is the first increase for imports after three consecutive months of decline since the government implemented a consumption-based Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April. The ringgit is the worst performing emerging Asian currency this year, having fallen more than 17 per cent this year.
The trade surplus in July dropped to RM2.38 billion from RM7.98 billion in June.
Exports to China increased 32.7 per cent, while US exports grew 20.2 per cent, underpinned by demand from the manufactured goods sector.