BANGKOK: Thailand's export growth in June hit its highest level in 11 years as global demand increased - a trend which is expected to continue, the country's commerce minister said on Friday.
Exports, a key driver of Thailand's growth, rose by a stronger-than-expected 43.82% in June from a year earlier, beating a forecast of a rise of 39% in a Reuters poll, and against May's 41.6% increase.
Shipments have been the only bright spot in the Southeast Asian country as it struggles with its worst coronavirus outbreak to date and the collapse of vital tourism.
"Exports will continue to drive the economy in the second half of the year," Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told a briefing.
"But along the way, there may be obstacles that need to be tackled by the government and private sectors," he added, citing factory closures and labour shortages caused by the outbreak as among the negative factors.
The ministry will seek government support, including more vaccinations, for the manufacturing sector to maintain export orders to meet global demand, Jurin said.
In June, export gains were led by a 78.5% year-on-year jump in vehicle and auto parts shipments and a 21.6% rise in computers and parts.
Demand from key markets was higher in June, with exports to the United States up 41% year-on-year, to China up 42%, to Japan up 32% and to European Union up 47%.
Imports in June jumped 53.75% from a year earlier, beating a forecast 46.3% rise, resulting in a trade surplus of $945 million for the month.
In the first half of 2021, exports rose 15.53% from a year earlier, while imports rose 26.15%, resulting in a trade surplus of $2.44 billion in the period. - Reuters