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[BANGKOK] Thailand's industrial output declined for the first time in four months in February due to weaker production of autos, rubber, air-conditioners and petroleum products, suggesting a fragile economic recovery.
The Industry Ministry said on Friday its manufacturing production index (MPI) in February dropped 1.5 per cent from a year earlier. A Reuters poll had forecast a rise of 0.55 per cent.
In January, the index rose a revised 2.19 per cent from a year earlier.
Industrial goods accounted for 80 per cent of total exports, which declined 2.8 per cent in February from a year earlier after January's 8.8 per cent rise, customs data showed.
Exports, which account for about two-thirds of Thailand's economy, are traditionally a key driver of the country's growth.
Capacity utilisation at factories was 60.10 per cent in February, little changed from a revised 60.67 per cent in January.
The Bank of Thailand on Wednesday raised its economic growth forecast to 3.4 per cent this year from 3.2 per cent, with exports rising 2.2 per cent.
South-east Asia's second-largest economy expanded 3.2 per cent last year.