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UPDATE 1-Malaysia's Jan exports rise more than expected

(Recasts, adds details throughout)

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Malaysia's exports rose more than expected in January from a year earlier, boosted by higher shipments of manufactured goods, the trade ministry said on Tuesday.

Exports rose 8.7% from a year earlier to 122.43 billion ringgit ($25.56 billion), more than the 3% growth estimated by 17 economists surveyed by Reuters.

Exports of manufactured goods, which accounted for 84.7% of total shipments, improved by 9.3% year-on-year, the trade ministry said in a statement.

"The export growth was boosted by higher shipments of petroleum products, machinery, equipment and parts, iron and steel products as well as manufactures of metal," the ministry said.

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Exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products from the world's second-biggest producer increased by 16.3% to 6.15 billion ringgit, the ministry added.

Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) accounted for 27.6% of Malaysia's total trade, increasing to 17.4% in January from a year earlier, with exports growing 9.5%.

Malaysia's exports to the United States improved 11.9%, while exports to the European Union were up 6.4%. However, exports to China fell 7.6% as a result of lower shipments of electrical and electronic goods.

Imports in January grew 18.8% from a year earlier to 112.3 billion ringgit, data from the trade ministry showed, versus an 8% increase expected in the Reuters poll.

Malaysia recorded a trade surplus of 10.12 billion ringgit in January. ($1 = 4.7890 ringgit) (Reporting by Danial Azhar; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)