November 22, 2017 / 2:27 AM / a year ago

Thai Oct exports up 13.1 pct y/y, beats forecast

    BANGKOK, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Thailand's customs-cleared
annual exports rose for an eighth straight month in October,
slightly more than expected, as global demand remained strong.
    Exports, a key driver of Thailand's growth, climbed 13.1
percent in October from a year earlier after rising 12.2 percent
in September, commerce ministry data showed on Wednesday.
    That beat the median forecast of an 11.8 percent rise from
economists polled by Reuters.
    Imports in October increased 13.5 percent from a year
earlier, more than the forecast of a 6.7 percent rise.
    That resulted in a trade surplus of $0.21 billion in
October, well below a forecast of $1.3 billion surplus.
    In January-October, exports grew 9.7 percent from a year
earlier, while imports rose 14.6 percent in the same period,
Pimchanok Vonkhorporn, an official at the Commerce Ministry,
said at a briefing.
    A strong baht is yet to affect exports in the short
term, she added.
    Shipments have recovered this year, despite the baht
 appreciating more than 9 percent against the dollar so
far this year, the second-biggest gainer among Asian currencies.
    The baht's strength, however, has had only a little impact
on exports, historical data showed. The central bank has said
trade partners' economies are more important for trade.
    The commerce ministry now predicts exports will grow 9-10
percent this year, accelerating from a modest 0.5 percent rise
in 2016 following three years of decline.
    Many of the materials Thailand imports are assembled into
completed goods and shipped out again.
 (Percentage change from a year earlier, in dollar terms;
figures may not add up exactly due to rounding):
                                Oct      Sept      Aug     July
 Exports (pct y/y)             13.1      12.2     13.2     10.5
 ($US bln)                    20.08     21.81    21.22    18.85
 Imports (pct y/y)             13.5      9.73     14.9     18.5
 ($US bln)                    19.87     18.45    19.13    19.04
 Trade balance ($US bln)       0.21      3.35     2.09    -0.19
 ($1 = 32.83 baht)

 (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon and Orathai Sriring;
Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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