September 21, 2017 / 4:42 AM / a year ago

Thai Aug exports jump 13.2 pct y/y, far above forecast

    BANGKOK, Sept 21(Reuters) - Thailand's customs-cleared
annual exports rose for a sixth straight month in August, far
better than expected and the fastest growth in 55 months, as
demand from major markets increased.
    Exports, a key driver of Thailand's growth, climbed 13.2
percent in August from a year earlier after July's 10.5 percent
rise, commerce ministry data showed on Thursday. A Reuters poll
expected an annual rise of 4.93 percent in August.
    In January-August, exports grew 8.9 percent from a year
earlier, while imports rose 15.4 percent, Commerce Ministry
Apiradi Tantraporn said at a briefing.
    Exports have recovered this year, but are under pressure
from a strong baht, which has appreciated by 8 percent
against the dollar this year, the biggest gain in Asian
    The ministry last month predicted exports would grow 5-6
percent this year after a 0.5 percent rise last year following
three years of contraction.
    Imports in August increased 14.9 percent from a year
earlier, roughly in line with the forecast of a 14.75 percent
    Thailand had a trade surplus of $2.09 billion in August,
compared with a poll forecast of a $520 million surplus.
    Many of the materials Thailand imports are assembled into
completed goods and shipped out again.
 (Percentage change from a year earlier, in dollar terms;
figures may not add up exactly due to rounding):
                            Aug     July    June      May
 Exports (pct y/y)         13.2     10.5    11.7     12.7
 ($bln)                   21.22    18.85   20.28    19.94
 Imports (pct y/y)         14.9     18.5    13.7     18.3
 ($bln)                   19.13    19.04   18.37    19.00
 Trade balance ($bln)      2.09    -0.19    1.92     0.94
 ($1 = 33.11 baht)

 (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon; Writing by Orathai
Sriring; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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