BANGKOK, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Thailand’s customs-cleared exports rose more than expected in October after a surprise decline in the previous month, the commerce ministry said on Wednesday.
Exports, a key driver of Thai growth, increased 8.7 percent in October from a year earlier, compared with the median forecast for a 4.5 percent rise in a Reuters poll.
In September, exports contracted 5.2 percent from a year earlier.
The export gain in October was led by higher shipments of fuel, gold, petrochemicals and agricultural products, the ministry said.
But exports of cars and parts, computers and accessories and electronics were lower, it said.
Exports to the United States rose 7.2 percent in October from a year earlier, after September’s 1.2 percent increase. Shipments to China were up 3 percent after a 14 percent decline in September.
In October, imports rose 11.23 percent on a yearly basis after rising 9.9 percent in September. The poll forecast was for a rise of 6.8 percent.
That resulted in a trade deficit of $0.28 billion in October, compared with a forecast of a $0.19 billion deficit, and compared with September’s $0.49 billion surplus.
In January-October, exports rose 8.19 percent from a year earlier while imports jumped 14.78 percent.
The commerce ministry said it was sticking to its export growth target of 8 percent this year, after last year’s 9.9 percent rise. ($1 = 32.95 baht) (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon Writing by Orathai Sriring Editing by Sunil Nair)