Thai June exports rise 8.2 pct y/y, below forecast

BANGKOK, July 20 (Reuters) - Thailand’s customs-cleared annual exports rose at a slower pace in June from the previous month, and less than forecast, commerce ministry data showed on Friday.

Exports, a key driver of Thai growth, rose 8.19 percent in June from a year earlier, after growing 11.44 percent in May.

The median forecast in a Reuters poll was for an increase of 9.50 percent.

Exports were driven by higher shipments of cars and parts, computers and accessories, and rubber products, the ministry said. However, exports of frozen shrimps, solar cells and refrigerators fell.

A trade war has not yet affected Thai shipments, with those to the United States hitting a record, Pimchanok Vonkhorporn, a commerce ministry official, said at a briefing.

In June, imports rose 10.83 percent year-on-year after climbing 11.72 percent in May. The poll forecast was for a 14.27 percent rise.

That resulted in a trade surplus of $1.58 billion in June, compared with a forecast of a $1.28 billion surplus, and against May’s $1.20 billion surplus.

In January-June, exports rose 10.95 percent from a year earlier while imports jumped 15.61 percent.

Exports are expected to rise 9 percent this year, but a trade war is a risk, Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said last week. In 2017, shipments rose 9.9 percent. ($1 = 33.38 baht) (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon Writing by Orathai Sriring Editing by Sunil Nair)