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Thai Jan exports seen down for 13th month, output to fall

[BANGKOK] Thailand's customs-cleared exports were expected to decline for the 13th straight month in January as global demand withered, a Reuters poll found, keeping industrial output weak.

The median forecast from the poll of 15 analysts showed exports were expected to contract 7.1 per cent from a year earlier, extending December's 8.73 per cent slide.

Exports, which account for more than 60 per cent of economic output, have long been sluggish, hurt by weak demand abroad and structural problems at home, stalling the military government's efforts to revive Southeast Asia's second-largest economy.

January's imports are seen down 9.75 per cent from a year earlier after December's 9.23 per cent drop.

Weak imports are a negative indicator for future exports as many imported items are parts to be assembled into finished goods and shipped out. Industrial goods account for more than 75 per cent of total exports.

Thailand's manufacturing output index was expected to drop 0.2 per cent in January from a year earlier after a rise 1.33 per cent rise in December. Output has been weak for more than two years, dragging on the economy.