Thailand: Factory output falls 4.35% y/y, less than forecast

The manufacturing production index (MPI) for January dropped by a slightly less-than-expected 4.35% from a year earlier as a global slowdown hurt exports, the Industry Ministry said on Tuesday.

The figure compared with a forecast fall of 5% in factory output for January in a Reuters poll, and came after December’s revised 8.45% year-on-year decline. The MPI is likely to drop further in February due to slowing global demand and a high comparative base last year, ministry official Worawan Chitaroon told a news conference.

However, the Thai economy is being supported by higher foreign tourist numbers and government measures to boost spending which should help offset the effects of weakening exports, she said.

Factory output is expected to increase 1.5% to 2.5% this year, down from a previous forecast of 2.5% to 3.5%, but manufacturing should be underpinned by a rebound in the vital tourism sector, private consumption and spending during the upcoming elections in May, Worawan said.

Industrial goods account for about 80% of total exports, which in December contracted 14.6% from a year earlier, commerce ministry data showed. The Commerce Ministry is expected to release January trade data this week.