Thailand’s exports in February hit a record monthly high at a value of 18.86 billion, government figures showed Friday, although the crisis in Japan was expected to hit short-term trade.
Thai shipments jumped 31 per cent from a year earlier – boosted especially by demand for agricultural and industrial products – marking the fastest-paced rise in eight months, the data showed.
It was the 16th consecutive monthly rise and the sharpest increase since a leap of 46.3 per cent in June 2010 – the biggest on record.
Commerce minister Porntiva Nakasai said the value of February’s exports was the highest monthly figure ever.
“The unrest in the Middle East will not affect Thai exports, but the earthquake and tsunami in Japan may cause a short-term stumble.”
The devastating twin natural disasters on March 11, which sparked a nuclear crisis, are feared to have caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damage to Japan’s economy, although the full impact is still far from clear.
In the longer-term Porntiva expected Thailand to benefit from increased exports to Japan, especially in food shipments.
The ministry retained its projection exports for 2011 at 10 percent.
The Thai economy returned to growth in the fourth quarter of 2010, snapping out of a brief technical recession on the back of solid exports and private consumption.
The Kingdom raised its benchmark interest rate earlier in March for the fifth time in the past eight months, in an attempt to curb inflation in the face of higher commodity prices.