KUALA LUMPUR, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia's exports surged 18.9 percent year-on-year to 935.39 billion ringgit (239.6 billion U.S. dollar) in 2017, the strongest growth since 2005, the government said Wednesday.
Malaysia saw its export growth rebound sharply in 2017, despite the exports in December grew only 4.7 percent year-on-year.
The yearly growth was mainly supported by electrical and electronics (E&E) sector, which expanded 19.2 percent year-on-year, according to the data released by the International Trade and Industry Ministry.
Overall, Malaysia's exports of manufactured goods in 2017 rose 18.9 percent year-on-year; mining goods increased by 23.9 percent while agriculture goods rose 10.9 percent.
As for export markets, Malaysia's exports to other members of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) expanded by 18 percent year-on-year, with Singapore remaining the largest export market in ASEAN.
Meanwhile, Malaysia's exports to China jumped 28 percent year-on-year to 126.15 billion ringgit, supported mainly by E&E products, petroleum products, rubber products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), chemicals and chemical products, optical and scientific equipment, manufactures of metal as well as natural rubber.
China, which has been Malaysia's largest trading partner since 2009, remained as Malaysia's largest trading partner in 2017. Malaysia's trade with China increased by 20.6 percent.
China also remained as Malaysia's largest import source with 19.6 percent share of total imports in 2017.
Malaysia's imports from China rose 15.5 percent last year, mainly supported by E&E products, machinery, equipment and parts as well as petroleum products.
Overall, Malaysia's imports expanded 19.9 percent year-on-year to 838.14 billion ringgit last year. Its surplus widened by 10.3 percent to 97.25 billion ringgit.
When announcing the trade performance, Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed also highlighted that Malaysia's trade last year rose 19.4 percent year-on-year to 1.774 trillion ringgit, the highest rate in 13 years.
Going forward, Mustapa expected the country's trade growth rate to moderate to 5 percent, due to high base effect, driven by steady domestic demand amid favorable external sector.
"The trades growth forecast is supported by the global growth which is projected to strengthen marginally," he told a press conference.
Besides, major trading partners are likely to continue to sustain good performance, and commodity prices is expected to improve, he said, adding that the rising protectionism is the biggest challenge for the open economies like Malaysia.