June 22, 2017 / 8:19 AM / 7 months ago

Thai May exports jump 13.2 pct y/y, highest pace in 52 months

    * May exports +13.2 pct y/y vs +6.3 pct in Reuters poll
    * May imports +18.2 pct y/y vs +10.7 pct seen in poll
    * May trade surplus $0.94 bln vs $1.16 bln surplus in poll
    * Jan-May exports +7.2 pct y/y, imports +15.2 pct y/y

    BANGKOK, June 22 (Reuters) - Thailand's customs-cleared
exports rose for a third straight month in May, handily beating
expectations, as demand from major markets increased, suggesting
the trade-dependent economy was gaining momentum.
    Exports climbed 13.2 percent in May from a year earlier
after April's 8.5 percent increase, commerce ministry data
showed on Thursday. A Reuters poll expected an annual rise of
6.3 percent in May.
    The jump in exports was the highest annual pace in 52
    Exports of electronics jumped 24.2 percent in May from a
year earlier while overall vehicle and parts shipments rose 12.5
    In January-May, exports rose 7.2 percent from a year
earlier, the highest pace in six years, Pimchanok Vonkhorporn,
an official at the Commerce Ministry, said at a briefing.
    Overall shipments, worth about two-thirds of Thailand's
growth, are just recovering after years of weakness. 
    The commerce ministry is confident of achieving its 2017
export growth target of 5 percent and sees a strong baht as a
short-term factor, Pimchanok said.
    The baht has gained more than 5 percent against the
dollar this year, competing with the Malaysian ringgit to
be Southeast Asia's strongest performer.
    Imports in May surged 18.2 percent from a year earlier,
above the forecast of a 10.7 percent increase and April's 13.4
percent jump.
    The May trade numbers produced a trade surplus of $0.94
billion, compared with a poll forecast of $1.16 billion and $57
million surplus in April.
    Many of the materials Thailand imports are assembled into
completed goods and shipped out again. 
 (Percentage change from a year earlier, in dollar terms;
figures may not add up exactly due to rounding):
                            May      Apr      Mar      Feb
 Exports (pct y/y)         13.2      8.5      9.2     -2.8
 ($bln)                   19.94    16.86    20.89    18.47
 Imports (pct y/y)         18.2     13.4     19.3     20.4
 ($bln)                   19.00    16.81    19.27    16.86
 Trade balance ($bln)      0.94     0.06     1.62     1.61
 ($1 = 33.97 baht)

 (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon; Writing by Orathai
Sriring; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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