Thai exports unexpectedly fell in June as weakening global demand offset easing supply constraints after last year’s floods.
Overseas sales slipped 2.5 percent from a year earlier to $20.13 billion, the Ministry of Commerce said in Nonthaburi province outside Bangkok today. That compares with a 7.68 percent rise reported for May, and the median forecast for a 4.5 percent increase in a Bloomberg News survey of nine economists.
Exports may continue to decline as a deepening European sovereign-debt crisis crimps demand for the region’s goods. The Thai central bank last month cut its export growth forecast to about 8 percent from 9 percent, while the Asian Development Bank last week reduced its predictions for the region’s expansion in 2012 and 2013 and said more easing of monetary and fiscal policies may be needed.
“The outlook for Thai exports is not without risks, especially as discretionary purchases and commodities feel the heat from global growth slowdown fears and the European crisis,” Radhika Rao, an economist at Forecast Pte. in Singapore, said before the release.
Imports rose 4.41 percent in June from a year earlier, for a trade deficit of $550 million, compared with a shortfall of $1.74 billion in May, when imports climbed 18.17 percent.
Thailand’s rice exports may fall 39 percent to 6.5 million tonnes this year, the Thai Rice Exporters Association said in a statement earlier today.
The Bank of Thailand will keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3 percent for a fourth straight meeting today, according to all 14 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.