BANGKOK, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Thailand’s customs-cleared exports dropped for a second straight month in December, down 1.72 percent from a year earlier, as against analysts’ forecast for a small rise, the commerce ministry said on Monday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had estimated a 0.4 percent year-on-year rise in exports, a key driver of Thai growth.
In November, shipments contracted 0.95 percent year on year.
The export decline in December was due to falling shipments of electronics amid the Sino-U.S. trade war and lower gold exports, the ministry said.
In December, imports fell 8.15 percent from a year earlier after jumping 14.66 percent in November. The poll forecast was for a rise of 3.87 percent.
That resulted in a trade surplus of $1.06 billion in December, compared with a forecast of a $1.1 billion deficit, and November’s $1.18 billion deficit.
Exports to the United States rose 0.6 percent in December from a year earlier, while those to China fell 7.3 percent.
In 2018, exports rose 6.70 percent from a year earlier while imports jumped 12.51 percent.
The ministry targets export growth of 8 percent in 2019, while Thailand’s central bank predicts a 3.8 percent rise. ($1 = 31.7 baht) (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)