Malaysia said Friday that its exports picked up September, rising a stronger-than-expected 2.6 percent year-on-year thanks increased demand from Southeast Asia and the United States.
Exports, the mainstay of the trade-dependent country, had fallen in July and August because of weak demand from Europe and China.
Improvement in shipments to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the United States, India and Taiwan supported saw exports rise to 60.21 billion ringgit ($19.7 billion), the trade ministry said in a statement.
Imports rose 9.6 percent to 53.74 billion, lifted by an increase in electrical, electronic and refined petroleum products, putting total trade at 113.94 billion ringgit, up from 107.74 billion the previous year.
Yeah Kim Leng, chief economist with financial research firm RAM Holdings said analysts were only expecting one percent growth.
He told AFP: "This rebound is sustainable since leading indicators in the United States are pointing to a pick-up in demand. The magnitude of the rebound was unexpected."
Shipments to Southeast Asia rose 18.9 percent to 16.30 billion ringgit, amounting for 27.1 percent of Malaysia's total exports.
Exports to the United States continued to grow, expanding 6.3 percent to 5.27 billion ringgit.
But exports of electrical and electronic products, crude rubber and chemical products to debt-wracked Europe sank 12.5 percent to 5.14 billion ringgit year-on-year, the ministry said.
Shipments to China fell 10.8 percent to 7.66 billion ringgit while those to Japan fell 2.2 percent to 7.04 billion ringgit.
From January to September, exports rose 1.7 percent to 525.50 billion ringgit, while imports grew 7.6 percent to 457.24 billion ringgit.