August 23, 2017 / 4:08 AM / a year ago

Thai July exports up 10.5 pct y/y, below forecast

    BANGKOK, Aug 23(Reuters) - Thailand's customs-cleared annual
exports rose for a fifth straight month in July, but fell short
of expectations, as demand from major markets increased.
    Exports, a key driver of Thailand's growth, rose 10.5
percent in July from a year earlier after June's 11.7 percent
rise, commerce ministry data showed on Wednesday. A Reuters poll
expected an annual rise of 11.6 percent in July.
    In January-July, exports grew 8.2 percent from a year
earlier, Pimchanok Vonkhorporn, an official at the Commerce
Ministry, said at a briefing.
    Exports have just recovered this year, but are under
pressure from a strong baht, which has appreciated 7.7
percent against the dollar this year, the biggest gain in Asia.
    The ministry said on Wednesday it expected exports to rise
5-6 percent this year, compared with the earlier 5 percent
target, after a 0.5 percent rise last year following three years
of decline.
    Imports in July increased 18.5 percent from a year earlier,
compared with the forecast of a 13.0 percent rise. 
    Thailand had a trade deficit of $188 million in July, the
first deficit in more than two years, compared with a poll
forecast of a $800 million surplus.
    Many of the materials Thailand imports are assembled into
completed goods and shipped out again.
 (Percentage change from a year earlier, in dollar terms;
figures may not add up exactly due to rounding):
                           July    June      May      Apr
 Exports (pct y/y)         10.5    11.7     12.7      8.0
 ($bln)                   18.85   20.28    19.94    16.86
 Imports (pct y/y)         18.5    13.7     18.3     13.3
 ($bln)                   19.04   18.37    19.00    16.81
 Trade balance ($bln)     -0.19    1.92     0.94     0.06
 ($1 = 33.22 baht)

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