Thailand’s exports rose 1.2 per cent in January from a year earlier, a Finance Ministry official said on Monday, as manufacturing begins to recover from severe flooding last year. Imports dipped 0.2 per cent in January from a year before, leaving a trade deficit of $0.6 billion, ministry economist Boonchai Charassangsomboon told a news conference, saying that was based on preliminary data from the Commerce Ministry’s customs department. The official customs data is normally published around the 20th to the 22nd of each month but it has been postponed this month, with officials blaming data system changes. Flooding in the second half of last year hampered agricultural production before devastating central industrial provinces from October. As a result, exports fell 12.4 per cent in November from a year before but they were only down 2 per cent in December. Imports rose 19.1 per cent in December, when firms rushed to bring in new machines and material to replace those damaged by the floods. “The small growth in January exports reflected signs of recovery in the manufacturing sector,” Boonchai said.