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Thai Oct exports unexpectedly fall 4.2% y-o-y, imports up
[BANGKOK] Thailand's customs-cleared exports unexpectedly dropped in October after two months of gains, adding to pressure on the struggling, trade-reliant economy.
Exports fell 4.2 per cent from a year earlier, commerce ministry data showed on Monday, compared with the median forecast for a rise of 2.15 per cent in a Reuters poll and a 3.4 per cent increase in September.
The export decline was due to slow global trade, weaker shipments of gold and oil products plus last year's high base of comparison, a ministry official told a briefing.
Imports rose a better-than-expected 6.5 per cent from a year earlier. Economists had expected a rise of 3.6 per cent after an increase of 5.6 per cent in September.
That produced a trade surplus of US$250 million for October, compared with expectations of US$1.9 billion and the previous month's US$2.55 billion.
Much of the materials that Thailand imports are assembled into completed goods and shipped out again.
Thai exports, worth about two-thirds of the country's GDP, have contracted for the past three years, frustrating the military government's efforts to revive the economy since it seized power in May 2014 to end months of political unrest.
Last week, the state planning agency forecast exports would be flat this year, rather than fall 1.9 per cent as previously projected. It expected the economy to grow 3.2 per cent this year, up from 2.8 per cent last year.