BANGKOK, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Thailand’s customs-cleared exports unexpectedly rose in July for the first time in five months, up 4.28% from a year earlier, as gold shipments surged, the commerce ministry said on Wednesday.
The gain in July was contrary to a Reuters poll forecast of a 2.3% drop in shipments, the main driver of Thai growth, and compared with a fall of 2.15% in June
Shipments to China expanded for the first time in nine months while those to the United States and Japan also increased, ministry official said.
Gold exports soared 407% in July from a year earlier while computers and parts fell 5.9%.
Shipments to China rose 6.2% on year, while exports to the United States jumped 9.8% and those to Japan rose 8.0%.
Excluding gold shipments, overall exports would have fallen 0.4%, data showed.
Imports in July increased 1.67% from a year earlier, after falling 9.44% the June. The poll had forecast a decline of 5.4%.
July saw a trade surplus of $110 million, compared with a forecast for a $540 million surplus, and June’s $3.21 billion surplus.
In January-July, exports contracted 1.91% from a year earlier and imports were down 1.81%.
The ministry targets 2019 export growth of 3%, while the state planning agency predicts a 1.2% fall. ($1 = 30.78 baht) (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon Writing by Orathai Sriring; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)