Factory output unexpecedly dips in March

Factory output unexpecedly dips in March

A worker is on duty at an automobile factory in Rayong province. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A worker is on duty at an automobile factory in Rayong province. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Thailand's factory output unexpectedly dipped in March as higher inflation started to affect industry, while the Russia-Ukraine war remains a key risk, the industry ministry said on Thursday.

The manufacturing production index (MPI) fell 0.1% in March from a year earlier, the first drop in seven months, missing a forecast rise of 2.15% in a Reuters poll and against February's 2.5% increase.

March's output was weighed by lower production of air conditioners, hard disk drives, and non-alcoholic beverages, the ministry said. In the January-March period, the MPI rose 1.41% from a year earlier.

"April (output) may be stable or positive as it was just a little negative last month. We have to wait and see if the war situation will drag on," ministry official Thongchai Chawalitpichaet told a briefing, referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special operation".

However, the output is underpinned by improved economic activity following an easing of COVID-19 curbs while a weak baht is a further boost to exports manufacturing, he said.

Exports rose 19.5% in March from a year earlier, with industrial goods accounting for 82% of the total shipments.


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