Thailand's trade balance recorded a surplus of US$2.16 billion in March, down from US$3.9 billion surplus in February, the Bank of Thailand said Thursday.

Export value fell 22.7% year-on-year in March compared with a contraction of 11.1% in February. The central bank said this sharper contraction was because of gold exports, which declined from US$1.86 billion in February to only US$ 305 million in March. On the other hand, import value dropped 35.1% year-on-year.

The current account surplus was US$ 2.40 billion in March.

In the first quarter of 2009, the trade balance recorded a US$ 7.80 billion, compared to the US$ 1.36 billion deficit in the previous quarter. The current account surplus was a record high of US$ 9.11 billion.

The manufacturing production index contracted 15.4% year-on-year in March, but expanded 2.5% month-on-month after seasonal adjustment.

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