Customs-cleared exports in January unexpectedly rose for the first time in six months, increasing 3.35% from a year earlier, boosted by higher shipments of gold and oil-related products, the commerce ministry said on Monday.
January's figures compared with a Reuters poll forecast for a fall of 3.0% in shipments, a main driver of Thai growth, and against December's 1.28% drop.
However, January's exports were not yet affected by the outbreak of a new coronavirus, a ministry official told a news conference.
Imports in January fell 7.86% from a year earlier, after rising 2.54% in the previous month, and compared with the forecast decrease of 15.85%. January's trade deficit amounted to US$1.56 billion versus a forecast of a $0.65 billion deficit and December's $0.60 billion surplus. In 2019, exports declined 2.65%.