Slumping shipments to most major markets weighed on garment exports from Thailand in the first quarter of the year, underscoring the damage caused by ongoing political unrest in the country.

Exports edged up just 0.73% to $706.6m in the three months from January to March, according to figures released by Thai Garment Manufacturers Association (TGMA). But shipments in March declined 2.24% in comparison with same period last year to $226.04m.

The US remained the biggest export market in the three-month period, accounting for 34% of the total. But exports fell 3.6% on the year before to $240.9m.

Likewise, exports to the EU and ASEAN regions saw negative growth of 6.1% and 3.9% respectively, at $161.4m and $35.21m. However, exports to Japan, Thailand's third largest customer, rose by 6.94% over same period 2013 to reach $108.2m.

In addition, the country's textile shipments fetched $1.11bn during the January to March period, marking a dip of 2.43% compared with the previous year period.

The figures follow mounting unrest in Thailand, which culminated in the military seizing control of the country on 22 May.

At the time, Thai garment makers told just-style of their concerns that they are losing out by not taking part in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) talks, and need to act to recover the EU trade access lost when the country was removed from the EU's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

Thailand was deemed too rich to be included in the programme from this year, which grants low or duty-free access to EU markets for many developing countries.