A protracted political crisis in Thailand appears to be putting increasing strain on an economy that has proved resilient to turmoil in the past.
Data on Tuesday showed Thai imports fell 15.5 percent in January from a year earlier in the biggest slide since October 2009. Exports fell almost 2 percent from a year earlier after a rise of 1.9 percent in December.
Economists say that while seasonal factors may help explain the steep decline in imports, the overall message from recent Thai data is that the political unrest that began last November is taking a toll on Southeast Asia's second biggest economy.
"In previous years the economy has been resilient, but it does look like it is taking more of a hit from the political turbulence," said Fred Gibson, associate economist at Moody's Analytics in Sydney. "We have lowered our 2014 growth forecast from 5.2 percent before the unrest started last year to 3.2 percent and downward revisions are likely if the political situation does not improve."