KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's March exports rose a surprising 2.3 per cent from a year earlier as demand for electronic products boosted shipments to China and the United States, government data showed on Thursday.
Imports in March rose 5.8 per cent from a year earlier due to more intermediate goods brought in before the implementation of a 6 per cent consumer tax on April 1.
A Reuters poll had forecast exports would drop 3.9 per cent, while imports were expected to rise 1.0 per cent.
The trade surplus for the month widened to RM7.82 billion from a RM4.5 billion surplus in February.
After 10 consecutive months of decline to China, exports rose 6.6 per cent in March due to higher shipments of electrical and electronic products. However, overall exports to China in the first quarter fell 12.6 per cent, due to a weak performance in the first two months of 2015.
Malaysia's first quarter exports declined 2.5 per cent from the same period a year earlier, while imports rose a marginal 0.2 per cent.