REUTERS 21 SEPTEMBER 2017 - Customs-cleared annual exports rose for a sixth straight month in August, far better than expected and the fastest growth in 55 months, as demand from major markets increased.
Exports, a key driver of Thailand's growth, climbed 13.2% in August from a year earlier after July's 10.5% rise, commerce ministry data showed on Thursday. A Reuters poll expected an annual rise of 4.93% in August.
In January-August, exports grew 8.9% from a year earlier, while imports rose 15.4%, Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said.
Exports have recovered this year, but are under pressure from a strong baht, which has appreciated by 8% against the US dollar this year, the biggest gain in Asian currencies.
The ministry last month predicted exports would grow 5-6% this year after a 0.5% rise last year following three years of contraction.
Imports in August increased 14.9% from a year earlier, roughly in line with the forecast of a 14.75% rise.
Thailand had a trade surplus of US$2.09 billion in August, compared with a poll forecast of a $520 million surplus. Many of the materials imported are assembled into completed goods and shipped out again.