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Thailand’s exports grew at the fastest rate in more than five years in January while import growth came in above estimates.

Thailand’s customs-cleared exports rose 17.6 per cent year on year in January, the largest increase in percentage terms since November 2012, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce.

That increase was above the 11.1 per cent forecast by economists in a Reuters poll and signalled continued robust growth at the start of the first quarter. Thailand’s economy grew 4 per cent year on year in the three months to the end of December as strong export demand supported the country’s manufacturing sector.

Imports also jumped 24.3 per cent in January, higher than the 16.6 per cent increase in December and above the 15 per cent increase forecast by economists.

Those figures resulted in a trade deficit of $119m, down from the $278m deficit in December and below the $330m deficit forecast by economists.

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