[BANGKOK] Thailand's industrial output unexpectedly rose in August at its fastest pace in 40 months, buoyed by stronger demand for air conditioners, appliances, electronics, rubber and steel.
In a rare bit of good news for the struggling economy, the Industry Ministry said on Friday its manufacturing production index (MPI) in August increased 3.13 per cent from a year earlier. A Reuters poll had forecast a fall of 2.0 per cent.
In July, output declined a revised 4.99 per cent from a year earlier, rather than the 5.1 per cent fall reported earlier.
Industrial goods accounted for 80 per cent of total exports in August, which unexpectedly rose 6.5 per cent from a year earlier, customs data showed. Shipments are worth about two-thirds of the economy.
Capacity utilisation rose to 64.44 per cent in August, from July's revised 62.38 per cent.
Exports have contracted in each of the past three years. The Bank of Thailand has forecast shipments will contract 2.5 per cent this year and the economy will grow 3.2 per cent.
The economy expanded 2.8 per cent last year.