Tue, Sep 21, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Thai exports rise for 10th straight month despite strong baht

AFP , BANGKOK

Thailand’s exports rose for a 10th straight month last month from a year earlier despite a surge in the value of its currency, the baht, official data showed yesterday.

Helped by solid demand for auto parts and electronics, Thai shipments overseas increased 23.9 percent from the same period last year to US$16.45 billion, the commerce ministry said.

Imports rose 41.1 percent to US$15.81 billion.

As a result, the country posted a trade surplus of US$642.8 million, against a deficit of US$939.8 million in July, when exports had risen 20.6 percent.

The strong performance came despite the appreciation of the baht, along with other Asian currencies, against the US dollar, which threatens to undermine the competitiveness of Thai exporters and reduce their overseas earnings.

Strong foreign demand helped the Thai economy to grow 9.1 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of this year, despite the impact of mass protests in Bangkok in April and May that damaged the vital tourism sector.

The central bank last month raised interest rates for a second consecutive month — to 1.75 percent — to keep a lid on inflation after an unexpectedly strong performance by the Thai economy despite the unrest.

The mass rally, which brought parts of the capital to a standstill and sparked violence that left 91 people dead, ended in a bloody army crackdown.

Thai Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said exports were on track to meet the government’s target of 20 percent growth this year and the baht’s appreciation in the last two months had not yet affected shipments.

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