KUALA LUMPUR, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia's exports in October rose 18.9 percent year-on-year to 82.41 billion ringgit (20.27 billion U.S. dollars), said Malaysia's International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed Wednesday.
According to the minister's statement, all sectors registered positive growth in the month, with exports of manufactured goods up 19.5 percent year-on-year, due to higher exports of electrical and electronic and petroleum products.
Exports of mining goods grew 27.3 percent, mainly driven by increased exports of crude petroleum, while exports of agriculture goods increased by 6.3 percent, mainly supported by palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products exports.
China remains one of Malaysia's major export markets in October. The trade with China rose 18.8 percent year-on-year to 25.02 billion ringgit, making up 16.2 percent of Malaysia's total trade.
Malaysia's exports to China expanded 20.5 percent year-on-year, led by higher exports of liquefied natural gas, manufactures of metal, petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products, rubber products and crude petroleum.
Malaysia's exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were also up 19.5 percent year-on-year, while those to the European Union (EU) and the United States were up 9.3 percent and 13.8 percent respectively.
For the first ten months, Malaysia's total trade surged 21.5 percent year-on-year to 1.465 trillion ringgit, with exports and imports rose 21.1 percent and 21.9 percent respectively.
"The October exports growth is slightly below our estimate of 19.9 percent albeit better than September's 14.8 percent growth," the United Overseas Bank (Malaysia)'s economist Julia Goh told Xinhua.
The numbers reflect continued strength in manufactured shipments and higher commodity exports, further improvement in global demand and trade dynamics, according to Goh.
While the higher commodity prices should augur well for Malaysia's exports and trade position in coming months, with the full year exports possibly surpassing Goh's target, she projected some moderation in exports in November to December, due to seasonal effect.
Affin Hwang Investment Bank's chief economist Alan Tan, however, opined that the exports growth is in line with his expectation, and expects the growth momentum to sustain in the last quarter.
"We see China's manufacturing growth will continue to support the exports demand of Malaysia this year," he told Xinhua while maintaining his full-year exports growth forecast of 22 percent.
He also believes Malaysia is able to achieve the upper range of the gross domestic product official projection of 5.2 to 5.7 percent in 2017, as the strong exports growth will cushion the slowdown in domestic demand.
However, due to high base this year, the export growth is expected to slow down to 5.5 percent in 2018, according to Tan. (1 ringgit equals to 0.25 U.S. dollar)