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Thai May Exports Fastest in 52 Months

Thailand expects 2017 export growth target of 5%.Thailand expects 2017 export growth target of 5%.

Thailand’s customs-cleared exports rose for a third straight month in May, handily beating expectations, as global demand improved, suggesting the trade-dependent economy was gaining momentum.

Exports climbed 13.2% in May from a year earlier, the fastest pace in 52 months, after April’s 8.5% increase, commerce ministry data showed on Thursday. A Reuters poll expected a 6.3% growth in May.

“A global economic recovery helped lift our exports to all key markets. Shipments of capital goods and agricultural products continued to grow,” said Pimchanok Vonkhorporn, an official at the commerce ministry.

In January-May, exports rose 7.2% from a year earlier, the highest pace in six years. Shipments are worth about two-thirds of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy and are just recovering after years of weakness.

The ministry is confident of achieving its 2017 export growth target of 5% and sees a strong baht as a short-term factor, Pimchanok said.

With the upbeat exports, Kasikorn Research Center plans to raise its 2017 export growth forecast from 2%, said economist Pimonwan Mahujchariyawong. The export growth in May was led by stronger shipments of capital goods, with electronics exports jumping about 24% from a year earlier after a mere 3% rise in April and a 0.7% contraction in 2016.

Exports to China, the United States and Japan, Thailand’s top three markets in May, rose 28.3%, 8.8% and 25.7% year-on-year, respectively. Imports of electronics and electrical parts increased nearly 19% in May from a year earlier.

Exports of overall vehicles and parts rose 12.5% in May, compared with a 2.4% drop in April, while imports of such items increased 14.6%. Total imports in May surged 18.2% from a year earlier, against forecast of a 10.7% rise.

The May trade numbers produced a trade surplus of $0.94 billion, compared with a forecast of $1.16 billion.

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