Thai Dec exports fall 14.6% y/y, worse than forecast

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A view of the port of Bangkok in Thailand

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s customs-based exports contracted for a third successive month in December, by a more than expected 14.6% from a year earlier as global growth slowed, commerce ministry data showed on Tuesday.

The reading compares with a forecast fall of 11.5% year on year for December in a Reuters poll, and came after November’s 6.0% decline.

For the whole of 2022, Thailand’s exports value hit a record high of $287 billion from 5.5% growth, however, the ministry said in a statement.

Among major markets in December, exports to the United States dropped 3.9% from a year earlier while those to Southeast Asia fell 19.0%. Exports to China contracted 20.8% from a year earlier, the ministry said.

In December, imports fell 12% from the same period in 2021, compared with a forecast 8.0% drop. Many imports will be used for producing goods to be shipped out again.

Thailand recorded a trade deficit of $1.03 billion in December, versus a forecast deficit of $1.06 billion.

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In 2022, imports rose 13.6%, with a trade deficit of $16.1 billion.

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Martin Petty)