February 28, 2018 / 3:13 AM / a year ago

Thai Jan factory output up 3.44 pct y/y, slightly above forecast

    BANGKOK, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Thailand's annual industrial
output slightly beat expectations as it rose for a third
straight month in January, helped by higher production of cars,
petroleum and rubber products.
    The manufacturing production index (MPI) in January rose
3.44 percent from a year earlier after December's 4.96 percent
increase, which was revised up from a 2.35 percent rise, the
Industry Ministry said on Wednesday.
    The median forecast in a Reuters poll was for a 3.0 percent
rise in January.
    The index climbed 1.58 percent in 2017, and the ministry has
forecast a gain of 2 percent this year.
    In January, capacity utilisation at factories rose to 70.19
percent from a revised 67.88 percent in December.
    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 this month maintained its 2018
economic growth forecast 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              Jan       Dec      Nov      Oct     Sept
 % change y/y     +3.44    +4.96*    +4.14    -0.33    +4.88
 % change m/m     +4.35    -3.30*    +6.99    -5.14    +1.94
 * Revised 

 (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon and Orathai Sriring;
Editing by Richard Borsuk and Simon Cameron-Moore)
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