KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's exports grew better than expected in December, boosting the country's trade surplus as imports dipped sharply from a month earlier, government data showed on Wednesday.
December's trade surplus came in at 10.4 billion ringgit, up from 7.6 billion ringgit registered a month earlier.
Malaysia reports trade data in ringgit.
Full-year exports grew 6.7 percent in 2018, with double-digit spikes in January, April and October. Total trade surplus grew 22.1 percent to 120.3 billion ringgit for the year, its fastest in a decade, according to the International Trade and Industry Ministry.
Total exports in December rose 4.8 percent from a year earlier, double the 2.4 percent growth forecast by economists in a Reuters poll on sustained demand for manufactured goods and chemicals and chemical products.
Exports to China, a major trading partner, contracted 0.5 percent annually in December, while total exports to the United States surged 13.5 percent.
Shipments of manufactured goods made up 83.6 percent of Malaysia's December exports, driven by a 14.2 percent increase in demand for electrical and electronic goods.
Mining goods contributed 9.9 percent of total exports, while agricultural goods made up 5.7 percent of December shipments.
Annual imports grew at a slower pace of 1 percent in December compared to the 5.0 percent pace a month earlier, on falling demand for capital goods.
(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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