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Thai July exports up 10.5% y-o-y, below forecast

[BANGKOK] Thailand's customs-cleared annual exports rose for a fifth straight month in July, but fell short of expectations, as demand from major markets increased.

Exports, a key driver of Thailand's growth, rose 10.5 per cent in July from a year earlier after June's 11.7 per cent rise, commerce ministry data showed on Wednesday. A Reuters poll expected an annual rise of 11.6 per cent in July.

In January-July, exports grew 8.2 per cent from a year earlier, Pimchanok Vonkhorporn, an official at the Commerce Ministry, said at a briefing.

Exports have just recovered this year, but are under pressure from a strong baht, which has appreciated 7.7 per cent against the US dollar this year, the biggest gain in Asia.

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The ministry said on Wednesday it expected exports to rise 5-6 per cent this year, compared with the earlier 5 per cent target, after a 0.5 per cent rise last year following three years of decline.

Imports in July increased 18.5 per cent from a year earlier, compared with the forecast of a 13 per cent rise.

Thailand had a trade deficit of US$188 million in July, the first deficit in more than two years, compared with a poll forecast of a US$800 million surplus.

Many of the materials Thailand imports are assembled into completed goods and shipped out again.