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% in July from a year earlier after June’s 11.7% rise, commerce ministry data showed on Wednesday. A Reuters poll expected an annual rise of 11.6% in July.
In January-July, exports grew 8.2% 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% against the US dollar this year, the biggest gain in Asia.
The ministry said on Wednesday it expected exports to rise 5-6% this year, compared with the earlier 5% target, after a 0.5% rise last year following three years of decline.
Imports in July increased 18.5% from a year earlier, compared with the forecast of a 13.0% rise. Thailand had a trade deficit of US$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.