Malaysia's exports in January grew 3.5 percent year-on-year to 56.99 billion ringgit (18. 32 billion U.S. dollars) on improved shipments of petroleum products and manufactured goods, the international trade ministry said on Monday. Exports fell 5.8 percent on year in December. Shipments of manufactured goods such as electrical products, chemical products and auto accessories and scientific equipment, which contributed 65 percent of total exports, grew 6.7 percent year-on-year in January. Exports of refined petroleum products increased by 35.4 percent from the same month last year. Shipments of agricultural goods, however, declined by 16.4 percent on an annual basis to 5.66 billion ringgit (1.82 billion U. S. dollars) as lower prices of palm oil and crude rubber hurt exports. Exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) grew 29.3 percent from last year while shipments to China -- Malaysia's biggest single export market -- rose 8.6 percent year- on-year. Shipments to Japan and the European Union fell by 14.1 percent and 5.7 percent year-on-year respectively. January's imports increased by 16 percent to 53.72 billion ringgit (17.26 billion U.S. dollars) year-on-year. Trade surplus in January was 3.27 billion ringgit (1.2 billion U.S. dollars), narrower than that registered in each of the past 12 months.