Economic activity picked up in April, with manufacturing activity returning to positive growth driven by stronger production of motor vehicles and electrical appliances, according to the latest data from the Bank of Thailand.
Mathee Supapongse, the senior director for macroeconomic and monetary policy, said the manufacturing production index rose by 0.5 percent year-on-year in April, the first positive rise in five months.
The increase was attributed partly to low-base effects as well as a rise in production in the auto, petroleum, beer and electrical appliance sectors on strong domestic demand.
Agricultural output, meanwhile, fell by 0.3 percent year-on-year on lower rice production and base effects, although production of other products continued to rise. Farm income fell by 13.5 percent year-on-year on the back of a 13.2 percent decline in prices, attributed to last year’s high base effects and lower rubber demand from China.
April exports totalled $16.6 billion, down by 3.5 percent year-on-year but a slight improvement from the 6.8 percent decline posted in March.
Imports rose by 9 percent year-on-year in in April to $17.4 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $734 million for the month.
Investment in April picked up, with commercial car sales, imports of capital goods and cement sales all higher than in the previous month.
Consumption also rose, with passenger car sales up by 23.4 percent year-on-year compared with a 3.3 percent decline in March.
“The overall economy expanded well in April, with manufacturing production continuing to recover, as well as exports,” said Mathee.
He said despite the euro-zone crisis, foreign manufacturing orders for the next three months continue to be robust, with exports projected to resume positive year-on-year growth near the end of the second quarter.