KUALA LUMPUR, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia's exports beat market expectations in July, rising 30.9 percent year-on-year to 78.62 billion ringgit (18.51 billion U.S. dollars), said the country's statistics department on Wednesday. The strong export momentum for the month was mainly supported by manufactured goods which grew 32.6 percent year-on-year, as electrical and electronic (E&E) exports increased by 28.3 percent. Exports of mining goods expanded 27.5 percent, driven by increased exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), while agriculture goods rose 14.8 percent, steered by higher exports of palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products. Malaysia's trade with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) surged 37 percent, the fastest growth since April 2010 as exports to all ASEAN countries attained double-digit growth. Malaysia's trade with China remained steady, soaring 26.4 percent year-on-year to 23.7 billion ringgit. Underpinned by higher exports of E&E products, rubber products, LNG, chemicals and chemical products as well as manufactures of metal, Malaysia's export to China grew 28.8 percent to 9.38 billion ringgit. From January to July, Malaysia's exports increased by 22.3 percent to 529.68 billion ringgit while imports rose by 23 percent to 478.71 billion ringgit, resulting in a trade surplus of 50.97 billion ringgit. Despite better-than-expected export performance, United Overseas Bank's (Malaysia) economist Julia Goh was holding export forecast for August at 18 percent. "I still opine the trend should normalize in the fourth quarter as the exports in June and July may due to seasonal effect," she told Xinhua. Malaysia's RAM Ratings' economist Kristina Fong said the strong export data showed resilience in the growth momentum of the main export drivers this year which have come about from a resurgence in industrial activities leading to more investment and restocking activities especially in industrialized countries. However, she noted the price effect is expected to be less robust for the rest of the year considering global oil price trends.