Malaysia Jan exports surge 13.6 percent y/y, fastest in more than a year

* Jan exports +13.6 pct y/y vs Reuters poll +15.0 pct

* Jan imports +16.1 pct y/y vs poll f’cast +10.0 pct

* Trade surplus 4.7 bln rgt vs poll f’cast of 8.2 bln rgt

* Exports to China +31.6 pct y/y, U.S. +5.6 pct, EU +12.1 pct

KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s January exports rose for a third consecutive month, surging by the its fastest pace in more than a year due to strong demand for commodities and manufactured goods, government data showed on Friday.

Exports in January expanded 13.6 percent from a year earlier, the biggest gain since October 2015, but just missing the 15.0 percent increase forecast by a Reuters poll. In December, exports rose 10.7 percent.

Data from the International Trade and Industry Ministry showed exports of mining goods increased 18.8 percent on stronger demand for crude oil and liquefied natural gas.

Exports of manufactured goods rose 12.2 percent and accounted for 80.8 percent of Malaysia’s total, the data showed.

Imports in January increased 16.1 percent from a year earlier, picking up from December’s 11.5 percent rise.

The trade surplus in January narrowed to 4.7 billion ringgit ($1.05 billion), from 8.7 billion ringgit the previous month.

Exports to China jumped 31.6 percent, due to higher demand for electrical and electronic products and palm oil-based goods.

Shipments to the United States rose 5.6 percent from a year earlier in January, while those to Europe climbed 12.1 percent.

Malaysia reports trade figures in ringgit.

For a graphic on Malaysia's exports and imports, click:

$1 = 4.4550 ringgit Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Richard Borsuk