Feb exports fall less than forecast

Feb exports fall less than forecast

A customer pays a vendor at a food cart at a fresh market in Bangkok. (Photo: AFP)
A customer pays a vendor at a food cart at a fresh market in Bangkok. (Photo: AFP)

Thailand's customs-based exports contracted for a fifth straight month in February, down 4.7% from a year earlier, due to a slowing global economy, the Commerce Ministry said on Thursday.

That compared with a forecast year-on-year fall of 6.9% for February in a Reuters poll, and came after January's 4.5% drop.

The fall was also due to a high base last year, the ministry said in a statement.

Shipments, a key driver of Thai growth, were expected to drop in the first and second quarters before improving in the second half of the year, Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengrit, head of the ministry's department of international trade promotion, told a news conference.

The ministry will maintain its target of 1% to 2% export growth this year, Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) director-general Poonpong Naiyanapakorn said.

In February, imports rose 1.1% from a year earlier, resulting in a trade deficit of US$1.11 billion for the month.

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