BANGKOK, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Thailand’s customs-cleared annual exports grew in August at a slower pace than the previous month, but exceeded analyst expectations, commerce ministry data showed on Friday.
Exports, a key driver of Thai growth, rose 6.68 percent in August from a year earlier to $22.79 billion, a record.
That compares with the median forecast of a 5.0 percent rise in a Reuters poll, and July’s 8.27 percent increase.
Exports were driven by higher shipments of cars and parts, computers and accessories, and rubber products, the ministry said. Meanwhile, exports of gold slumped 66 percent.
In August, imports surged 22.8 percent year-on-year after climbing 10.53 percent in July. The poll forecast was for a rise of 11.1 percent.
That resulted in a trade deficit of $0.59 billion in August, compared with a forecast $1.19 billion surplus, and against July’s $0.52 billion deficit.
In January-August, exports rose 10.03 percent from a year earlier while imports jumped 15.89 percent.
The commerce ministry said exports would likely grow 9 percent this year, after last year’s 9.9 percent rise. ($1 = 32.39 baht) (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon Writing by Orathai Sriring Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)