The value of Thailand’s exports rose a much higher-than-expected 31.0 percent in February from a year earlier to a record high as demand from key markets increased, data from the Commerce Ministry showed.

Exports were bosted by unusually high sales of gold, which jumped nearly sixfold in February from a year earlier after a 72 percent rise in January [ID:nTST000240].

China became Thailand’s top market in 2010, overtaking the United States and Japan as exporters shift to fast-growing emerging markets. It was also the biggest market in February. Annual exports are equivalent to more than 60 percent of GDP.

Imports rose 22.5 percent in February from a year earlier. Imports of fuel products rose 64 percent, capital goods rose 32 percent, and raw and semi-finished goods rose 6.8 percent. Many imports are used to make re-exported shipments. (Reuters)