Thailand’s export continued to shrink in March for the sixth consecutive month as a slowdown in global demand and high inflationary pressures weighed on trade, data showed on Wednesday.
Export, a main driver of the country’s economic growth, dropped below market expectations, down 4.2 percent last month from a year earlier to 27.65 billion U.S. dollars, according to the data released by the Ministry of Commerce.
The March decline was compared with a fall of 4.7 percent in February and 4.5 percent in January.
In a statement, the ministry attributed the export contraction to interest rate hikes, which had a sustained impact on the banking sector, businesses and consumer purchasing power.
A breakdown of the data showed the country’s export of industrial products shrank 5.9 percent from a year earlier in March, while shipments of agricultural and agro-industrial products expanded 4.2 percent year on year.
The data also showed Thailand’s import fell 7.1 percent from a year earlier to 24.94 billion dollars in March, reversing a 1.1-percent growth in the previous month and resulting in a trade surplus of about 2.72 billion dollars, the first trade surplus recorded this year.
For the first quarter of the year, the Southeast Asian country’s export shrank 4.5 percent from a year earlier, while import dipped 0.5 percent, according to the ministry. ■