Thailand: Factory output falls 4.56%, worse than forecast

Thailand’s manufacturing production index (MPI) in March contracted 4.56% from a year earlier, as a global economic slowdown hurt exports, the Industry Ministry said on Friday.

The figure compared with a forecast in a Reuters poll for a fall of 3.65%, and came after February’s revised 2.38% year-on-year decline.

Output in the first quarter dropped 3.94% from a year earlier, the ministry said in a statement.

While exports are weak, a pickup in domestic demand on the back of a rebound in tourism and increased investment is supporting related manufacturing production, the ministry said.

Spending ahead of a May 14 election will also help the manufacturing sector, it said.

Industrial goods account for about 80% of total customs-based exports, which declined by a less than expected 4.2% in March from a year earlier.