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Industry Developments

Thailand Trade Returns to Surplus

Thailand trade returns to surplus
(AFP) – Jun 20, 2011

    BANGKOK — Thailand's trade balance returned to surplus in May after a deficit the previous month, despite a slowdown in exports in following Japan's March 11 quake-tsunami, government data showed on Monday.

    Exports grew 17.6 percent from a year earlier to $19.46 billion, after a 24.6 percent rise in April, as the auto sector felt the squeeze from reduced parts from Japan following the twin disaster, the commerce ministry said.

    Imports grew 33.8 percent to $19.19 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $277.5 million. In April Thailand posted a deficit of $797 million.

    The government said it was confident its forecast for export growth of between 12 and 15 percent for the whole of this year would be achieved.

    "Even though the risk of high oil prices and rising interest rates affected production costs, demand from abroad is still high," said Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai.

    Thailand's economic growth accelerated to 2.0 percent quarter-on-quarter in the three months to March, the quickest pace in a year, helped by surging exports, the government said last month.

    The Thai central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by a total of 175 basis points since July 2010, to 3.0 percent, in an attempt to curb inflation in the face of higher commodity prices.

    Consumer price inflation picked up to 4.19 percent in May compared with a year earlier, according to official figures.


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