Thailand Jan auto output marks 4th straight monthly rise y/y; export demand slows

BANGKOK, NNA - Auto production in Thailand rose in January for the fourth straight month year on year, as strong domestic demand ahead of a general election more than offset the slowdown in exports.

The Federation of Thai Industries released the latest monthly output data Thursday.

Key points:

-- Total vehicle production rose 8.1 percent to 179,595 units in January from a year earlier, led by buoyant consumer and business sentiment ahead of a general election slated for March 24.

-- Passenger car output rose 8.2 percent from a year earlier to 73,768 units, while production of commercial vehicles rose 8.0 percent to 105,827 units.

-- By destination, output for domestic shipment rose 15.4 percent to 78,553 units, marking the 21st y/y rise and a fifth consecutive month of double-digit growth. Output for exports gained just 2.9 percent to 101,042 units, slowing from the 4.4 percent increase in December, but still showing a second straight y/y rise.

-- Motorcycle production fell 5.7 percent y/y to 218,285 units in January, marking the first decline in eight months.

Takeaway:

--For the whole of 2019, FTI forecasts a 2.4-percent rise in output to about 1.05 million units for domestic shipment, and a decline of 3.7 percent to around 1.10 million units for export.

-- The top concern for automakers in Thailand is an economic slowdown in the regions other than Asia and North America, an FTI official told reporters, adding that recent appreciation of the baht is likely to hurt all export goods.

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