Thai Dec factory output rises 2.35 pct y/y, below forecast

    BANGKOK, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Thailand's annual industrial
output rose for a second straight month in December, helped by
higher production of rubber, cars and car engines and petroleum,
but missed expectations.
    The manufacturing production index (MPI) in December rose
2.35 percent from a year earlier after a revised 4.14 percent
increase in November, the Industry Ministry said on Wednesday.
    The median forecast in a Reuters poll was for a 3.50 percent
    The index was up 1.58 percent in 2017, and the ministry has
forecast the index to rise 2 percent this year.
    Capacity utilisation at factories dropped to 59.53 percent
in December from November's revised 63.18 percent.
    Industrial goods account for 80 percent of total exports,
which in turn make up about two-thirds of the second-largest
economy in Southeast Asia.
    The finance ministry expects the economy to grow 4.2 percent
this year after a 4 percent growth estimated for 2017. Official
2017 GDP data is due on Feb. 19.
    Data from Thailand's Office of Industrial Economics, part of
the Industry Ministry. (not seasonally adjusted)
 Month              Dec      Nov      Oct     Sept      Aug
 % change y/y     +2.35   +4.14*    -0.33    +4.88    +4.23
 % change m/m     -5.87   +6.99*    -5.14    +1.94    +4.26
 * Revised

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