Thai trade slumps alongside tourism as protest violence takes toll
BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand announced a slump in trade figures on Tuesday with the biggest drop in imports in more than four years in January, as months of anti-government protests extended their economic toll beyond falling tourism numbers.
The protesters, whose disruption of a general election this month left Thailand in political limbo, aim to topple caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and erase the influence of her brother, ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, seen by many as the power behind the government.
Weeks of unrest, most of it in the capital, Bangkok, have been interrupted by occasional bombs and gunfire, with one blast killing a woman and a young brother and sister in a busy shopping district on Sunday.
Imports fell 15.5 per cent in January from a year earlier, the biggest tumble since October 2009. Imports of computers and parts were down 19 per cent from a year earlier, auto parts off 31.8 per cent and consumer goods 5.3 per cent. Exports dropped 2 per cent.