March 30, 2018 / 5:10 AM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Thai Feb factory output rises 4.66 pct y/y, beats forecast

 (Adds updated forecasts in paragraph 4-5)
    BANGKOK, March 30 (Reuters) - Thailand's annual industrial
output rose more than expected in February, boosted by higher
production of cars, petroleum, hard drives and plastic pellets.
    The manufacturing production index (MPI) in February
increased 4.66 percent from a year earlier after January's 4.70
percent rise, which was revised up from a 3.44 percent gain
stated earlier, the Industry Ministry said on Friday.
    The median forecast in a Reuters poll was for a 3.9 percent
rise in February.
    The index is expected to rise 3.5-4.0 percent in the first
quarter from a year earlier, Penwipa Trisiripanit, a ministry
official, told reporters.
    For 2018, the industry ministry slightly raised its forecast
for the index to a gain of 2.5-3.0 percent, from a 1.5-2.5
percent rise seen earlier, citing stronger exports and improving
domestic spending.
    Last year, the index rose 1.58 percent.
    In February, capacity utilisation at factories eased to
70.43 percent from January's revised 70.55 percent.
    Industrial goods account for 80 percent of exports, which in
turn make up about two-thirds of the Thai economy, the
second-largest in Southeast Asia.
    The state planning agency has forecast 2018 economic growth
of 3.6-4.6 percent after last year's 3.9 percent, the fastest
pace in five years.
    Data from the Industry Ministry's Office of Industrial
Economics: (not seasonally adjusted)
 Month              Feb       Jan       Dec      Nov      Oct
 % change y/y     +4.66    +4.70*    +5.80*   +6.29*   +1.02*
 % change m/m     -0.03    +5.01*    -3.24*   +6.53*   -5.04*
 * Revised 

 (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon
Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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