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Thai December exports top forecast, 2022 exports seen up 3-4per cent

FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers stand at a port in Bangkok, Thailand, March 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers stand at a port in Bangkok, Thailand, March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK : Thailand's exports rose more than expected in December from a year earlier, with full-2021 growth coming at 17.1per cent, the highest in 11 years, helped by stronger global demand and a weak baht, the commerce minister said on Friday.

In December, exports increased 24.2per cent from a year earlier, beating a forecast for a rise of 15.5per cent in a Reuters poll, and after November's 24.7per cent increase.

Exports, a key driver of Thailand's growth, are forecast to rise by 3per cent to 4per cent in 2022, as solid global demand is expected to continue, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told a news conference.

The baht currency is likely to remain supportive and a container shortage is expected to ease, Jurin said.

Thailand's participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal will also be a boost, he added.

However, risks to exports this year include the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and higher inflation in other countries, ministry officials said.

In December, exports to the United States rose 36.5per cent from a year earlier. Shipments to China increased 14per cent from a year earlier while those to the Southeast Asian countries rose 24per cent, ministry data showed.

Imports jumped 33.4per cent in December from a year earlier and rose 29.8per cent in the whole of 2021.

The country recorded a trade deficit of US$354 million in December but a trade surplus of US$3.57 billion in all 2021.

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring, Kitiphong Thaichareon and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Martin Petty)

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