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[BANGKOK] Thailand's industrial output declined for the first time in five months in July, contrary to expectations and showing the sector continues to struggle in the face of sluggish exports and domestic demand.
The Industry Ministry said on Tuesday its manufacturing production index (MPI) in July fell 5.1 per cent from a year earlier. A Reuters poll had forecast a rise of 0.1 per cent.
In June, output increased a revised 1.37 per cent from a year earlier, instead of the 0.8 per cent gain reported earlier.
Industrial goods accounted for 80 per cent of total exports in July, which contracted 4.4 per cent from a year earlier, customs data showed.
July's annual output fall was led by auto production, apparel and plastic goods.
Capacity utilisation was 62.34 per cent in July after June's revised 66.7 per cent.
Exports have declined in each of the past three years. The central bank has forecast shipments will contract 2.5 per cent this year, while it expects the economy to expand 3.1 per cent.