The annual industrial output of Thailand rose more than expected in February, boosted by higher production of cars, petroleum, hard drives and plastic pellets.
The manufacturing production index (MPI) in February increased 4.66 per cent from the same time of the privies year, the Industry Ministry of the export-dependent economic country said on Friday.
The MPI rose 4.70 per cent in January, which was revised up from a 3.44 per cent gain stated earlier. The median forecast in a Reuters poll was for a 3.9 per cent rise in February.
The index is expected to rise 3.5-4.0 per cent in the first quarter (Q1) from a year earlier, Penwipa Trisiripanit, a ministry official, told reporters.
For 2018, the industry ministry slightly raised its forecast for the index to a gain of 2.5-3.0 per cent, from a 1.5-2.5 per cent rise seen earlier, citing stronger exports and improving domestic spending.
Last year, the index rose 1.58 per cent.
In February, capacity utilisation at factories eased to 70.43 per cent from January's revised 70.55 per cent.
Industrial goods account for 80 per cent of exports, which in turn make up about two-thirds of the Thai economy, the second-largest in Southeast Asia.
The state planning agency has forecast 2018 economic growth of 3.6-4.6 per cent after last year's 3.9 per cent, the fastest pace in five years.