A ship loaded with containers full of export goods destined for foreign markets (Photo: bangkokpost.com)

Bangkok (VNA) –Thailand’s exports in September defied analyst expectations, dropping for the first time in 19 months, according to data from the country’s commerce ministry.

Exports, a key driver of Thai growth, fell 5.2 percent in September from a year earlier, compared with the median forecast for a 6.05 percent rise in a Reuters poll.

In August, exports rose 6.68 percent over the same period last year.

The ministry blamed the export decline on impacts of the US-China trade war and trade partners’ economic problems.

The country’s shipments to the US rose 1.2 percent in September from a year earlier, while those to China slumped 14.1 percent.

Exports of cars and parts, computers and accessories fell 7.4 percent compared to the same period last year while rubber products dropped 2.4 percent, it said.

In September, Thailand’s imports increased 9.9 percent on an annual basis after surging 22.8 percent in August. That resulted in a trade surplus of 490 million USD in September, compared with a forecast 1.61 billion USD.

In January-September, the country’s exports rose 8.13 percent from a year earlier while imports jumped 15.2 percent.

The commerce ministry said it still targets export growth of 8 percent this year, after last year’s 9.9 percent rise.-VNA