Malaysia International Trade and Industry ministry said in a statement that exports of manufactured goods in September, which made up 87.7 percent of total exports, picked up by 16.3 percent year-on-year to 77.99 billion ringgit.
The expansion was due mainly to higher shipments of E&E products, rubber products, other manufactures especially solid-state storage devices, iron and steel products as well as optical and scientific equipment.
Exports of agricultural goods surged by 26.6 percent to 6.55 billion ringgit compared to September 2019, buoyed mainly by higher exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agricultural products.
Exports of mining goods, however, declined by 27.4 percent year-on-year to 4.02 billion ringgit on account of lower exports of liquefied natural gas.
Malaysia's total trade in September expanded by 5.5 percent to 155.88 billion ringgit compared to September 2019. Increases in trade were recorded primarily with China, the United States and the Netherlands.
In September, trade with China contributed 19.8 percent to Malaysia's total trade, with an expansion of 21.5 percent year-on-year.
Exports to China sustained double-digit growth for four consecutive months, surging by 41.9 percent, mainly on higher exports of E&E products, iron and steel products as well as palm oil and palm oil-based agricultural products.
Imports from China also expanded by 6.1 percent.
For the first nine months of 2020, its total trade declined 5.2 percent to 1.294 trillion ringgit. Exports during the period slipped 3.7 percent year on year to 709.56 billion ringgit, while imports declined by 6.9 percent to 584.62 billion ringgit.
Socio-Economic Research Centre (SERC) executive director Lee Heng Guie said the better than expected exports in the third quarter will add support to GDP growth in the third quarter.
"However, exports still face challenges ahead given the implosion of new infection cases in our major trading partners, with the exception of China," he told Xinhua.
"If these countries implement tighter movement restrictions, this will dampen consumer spending and affect the demand of our exports," he said.
Meanwhile, MIDF Research maintains its exports growth forecast of negative 3.5 percent year on year in 2020.
"With the latest performance in September, Malaysia's year-to-date exports growth averaged at nagative 3.7 percent year on year, just a shade below our full year forecast of negative 3.5 percent year on year.
"Exports outlook moving forward will continue to be supported by sales of selected products particularly E&E, palm oil and rubber products. We expect an overall increasing trend in sales of these goods to continue for the remaining of the year in line with resumption of activities globally," it said.