Feb exports unexpectedly rise 5.91% year-on-year

Feb exports unexpectedly rise 5.91% year-on-year

Domestic car sales rise 9.1%

Domestic car sales rose in February due to improved economic growth and investment. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Domestic car sales rose in February due to improved economic growth and investment. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Customs-cleared exports unexpectedly rose in February, after contracting for three consecutive months, due to one-time shipment of arms and weapons, the Commerce Ministry said on Thursday.

Exports in February rose 5.91% from a year earlier, compared with a Reuters poll prediction of a 1% drop in shipments, a key driver of Thai growth.

In January, shipments contracted 5.65% from a year earlier.

The gain in February was because of shipments of arms and weapons after military drills, otherwise exports would have dropped 3.4%, a ministry official told a briefing.

Exports of cars and car parts fell 7.9% in February from a year earlier, while computers and parts slumped 14.1%.

In February, imports fell 10.03% from a year earlier, after surprisingly jumping 13.99% in January. The poll forecast was for a 3.35% increase in February.

For February, there was a trade surplus of $4.03 billion, compared with a forecast of $0.14 billion surplus, and January's deficit of $4.03 billion.

The ministry has forecast an export growth of 8% for this year after a 6.7% increase in 2018.

The Federation of Thai Industries said on domestic car sales in February rose 9.1% from a year earlier to 82,324 units, after rising 17.3% in January.

Sales were helped by improved economic growth and higher state and private investment.

Domestic car sales are forecast to be 1.05 million units for this year, up 2.44%, after last year's 19.5% increase to 1.04 million units, the highest level in five years.

Thailand is a regional vehicle production and export base for the world's top automobile manufacturers


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