Mar 18, 2009
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Thai exports fall again in February

Mar 18, 2009

BANGKOK, March 18, 2009 (AFP)- Thai exports fell 11.3 percent year-on-year in February but there were signs of recovery in some areas, the commerce ministry said Wednesday March 18.

A Thai worker takes a break AFP/Getty Images

The data was not as bad as January, when exports were down 26.5 percent due to weak demand caused by the global financial crisis, said the ministry's permanent secretary, Siripol Yodmuangcharoen.

But the figures, showing exports in February worth 11.74 billion dollars, still represented a continuing downward trend in nearly all sectors of the country's main source of revenue, he said.

"Our exports in February were still in the negative zone in nearly all categories as demand from our main and new markets slipped," Siripol told reporters.

"(But) an expansion of rice, rubber, shrimp as well as gems and jewellery exports helped improve export figures last month," he added.

It was the fourth consecutive month that Thai exports have fallen.

Import figures were also weak, down 40.3 percent from a year earlier at 8.16 billion dollars, representing a total trade surplus of 3.58 billion dollars.

The Bank of Thailand has forecast exports to shrink between 5.5 percent and 8.5 percent overall this year.

Thailand is expected to enter recession in the first quarter of 2009. Gross domestic product fell by 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has warned that worse is to come.

The government has also forecast growth across 2009 at between minus 1.0 and zero percent.

The Thai economy grew by 2.6 percent in 2008 as a whole -- the slowest rate in seven years.

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