BANGKOK, April 22 (Reuters) - Thailand’s customs-cleared exports fell 4.88 percent in March, after unexpectedly increasing in February, due to falling shipments of electronics amid the Sino-U.S. trade war, the commerce ministry said on Monday.
Exports in March dropped 4.88 percent from a year earlier, compared with a Reuters poll prediction of a 3 percent decline in shipments, a key driver of Thai growth.
In February, annual shipments unexpectedly rose 5.91 percent due to one-time shipment of arms and weapons.
The export contraction in March was because of shipments of electronics, oil and related products, and computers and accessories, a commerce ministry official told a briefing.
In March, imports fell 7.63 percent from a year earlier, after slumping 10.03 percent in February. The poll forecast was for a fall of 2.95 percent in the month.
There was a trade surplus of $2 billion in March, compared with a forecast of $1.28 billion surplus, and February’s $4.03 billion surplus.
The ministry has forecast an export growth of 8 percent for this year after a 6.7 percent increase in 2018. ($1 = 31.89 baht) (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)