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Thai exports fall at record pace

THAILAND'S exports slumped at a record pace in May and could fall by nearly a fifth this year as global demand remains weak, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

Exports from Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy plunged 26.6 percent from a year earlier to US$11.7 billion, their biggest monthly drop ever, the ministry said.

Imports slid 34.7 percent to US$9.3 billion, producing a trade surplus of US$2.4 billion for May.

Thailand's export industry is reeling from the worst global recession in decades while domestic consumption remains sluggish because of chronic political instability following the 2006 coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra as prime minister.

Its gross domestic product shrank 7.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier.

The ministry said exports this year will fall between 15 percent and 19 percent from its previous forecast of exports being flat in the worst case scenario.

Thailand is an exporter of soft commodities like rice and manufactured products such as electrical goods, hard-drives and vehicles.

Exports for January to May shrank 23 percent and imports were off 36.8 percent.


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