Malaysia’s exports expanded at a faster-than expected pace of 3.5% year-over-year in July thanks to a rise in shipments of electrical products that helped to cushion a drop in natural-gas and crude-oil prices, official data showed Friday.

A survey of seven economists by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a median 3.2% rise in July exports from a year earlier. In June, exports rose 5% from a year earlier.

Exports totaled 63.23 billion ringgit ($15 billion) in July, compared with 61.11 billion ringgit a year earlier, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said in a statement. Exports were supported by a sharp fall in ringgit, which recently touched a 17-year low agains the U.S. dollar.

Shipments of electronic products, which make up about a third of total exports, rose 12.1% year-over-year in July, while palm-oil exports climbed 0.2%. Exports of crude petroleum and natural gas plunged 34.4% and 23.6%, respectively.

Exports to China–Malaysia’s largest trading partner–jumped 32.7% year-over-year, but declined by about 2.7% over the previous month. The on-month decline is likely the result of slowdown in China that may continue to hurt Malaysian exports in coming months, economists say.

Exports to the U.S. and the European Union rose on-year 20.2% and 3.9%, respectively.

Imports in July unexpectedly rose 5.9% year-over-year to 60.85 billion ringgit, the ministry said. Economists in the poll had forecast a median 1.1% fall from a year earlier. This compares with June’s 1.5% year-over-year decline in imports.

The rise in July imports was led by a 5.7% rise in intermediate goods and 3.2% rise in capital goods.

Malaysia’s trade surplus in July, however, narrowed to 2.38 billion ringgit from 7.98 billion ringgit in June, the ministry added.

Source: Dow Jones – hellenicshippingnews

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