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Thai Jan Exports, Imports Fall
It said January imports declined by 15.5 per cent to US$20.42 billion, which meant that the country recorded a trade deficit of US$2.52 billion in the first month of this year.
This also meant four consecutive months of trade deficit, it said.
The ministry's Permanent Secretary, Srirat Rastapana, said in a worst-case scenario, if prolonged political conflict and other negative factors affected global trading, Thailand's export growth would be only three per cent this year.
She said the ministry would still maintain export growth projection of five per cent to US$233 billion in 2014 despite the continued weak export figures on expectation that the political turmoil would end in the first half of this year.
Last year, exports declined 0.31 per cent worth to US$228.23 billion.
Srirat said January exports could could have been higher as many countries had shown signs of recovery and the baht depreciation made goods exported from Thailand cheaper, but the political problems had hindered the growth.
She said the sharp drop in imports was due to the weak baht and the suspension of machinery and material imports by the manufacturers.
Meanwhile, Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, Director-General of the International Trade Promotion Department, said foreign traders were concerned about the political situation and some had cancelled their plans to visit trade fairs in the country.
"However, many are still coming to Thailand. About 4,800 foreign traders have confirmed to join the 53rd Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair held on Feb 25 to March 1," he said.
Nuntawan said he expected any negative impact will be short term only.
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