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Malaysia's August exports drop 2.9% year-on-year, worse than forecast

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian exports dropped 2.9% in August from a year earlier, contrary to expectations for an increase, as shipments to key markets tumbled and demand for manufacturing, agriculture and mining goods dropped, government data showed on Monday.

The contraction was far below the 4.8% growth forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll, and a sharp dip from the 3.1% rise in July.

Imports in August shrank by 6.5% from a year earlier, slowing from the 8.7% decline in the prior month, data from the International Trade and Industry Ministry showed. Analysts had expected a fall of 4.3%.

Malaysia's trade surplus narrowed to 13.2 billion ringgit ($3.17 billion), moderating from a historic high of 25.15 billion ringgit in July.

(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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