BANGKOK, June 21 (Reuters) - Thailand’s customs-cleared exports dropped for a third straight month in May, down 5.79% from a year earlier, after contracting 2.57% in April, mainly due to lower shipments of cars and parts, electronics and oil, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
The decline in May exports compared with a Reuters poll forecast of a 3.6% drop in shipments - the main driver of Thai growth.
Shipments to China dropped 7.2% in May from a year earlier, while shipments to the United States climbed 7.8%, a ministry official said.
Imports in May contracted 0.64% from a year earlier, after falling 0.72% in the prior month. The poll forecast for May was a decline of 1.9%.
May saw a trade surplus of $181.5 million, compared with a forecast of $580 million surplus, and April’s $1.46 billion deficit.
In January-May, exports dropped 2.7% from a year earlier, while imports dipped 0.99%.
$1 = 30.82 baht Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon, Writing by Orathai Sriring, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips