Thailand’s export hopes bloom in Q4, aiming to paint a brighter 2023 picture

Picture courtesy of Apichart Jinakul.

The Ministry of Commerce in Thailand anticipates an uptick in the country’s exports for the last quarter of the year, potentially mitigating the projected contraction for 2023. This encouraging forecast is attributed to several factors, including a partnership between the government and private sector to boost export activities and address associated challenges, drought-induced spikes in agricultural and food product imports, favourable exchange rates, and inventory stockpiling in preparation for the festive season.

The ministry also predicts growth in industrial goods, aligning with clean energy and digital technology trends, according to Keerati Rushchano, the permanent commerce secretary. While the overall export performance for the year may remain negative, the contraction is expected to be less severe than many agencies’ forecasts.

The ministry yesterday, October 24, disclosed an increase in the country’s exports for the second month in a row in September, reaching US$25.5 billion, a 2.1% year-on-year rise.

In contrast, imports declined by 8.3% to US$23.4 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$2.09 billion. Excluding gold, oil-related products, and weaponry, real sector exports grew by 1% year-on-year.

Agricultural and agro-industrial product exports, particularly fruit exports to China and rice exports to South African and Indonesian markets fueled the September increase.

Keerati noted that industrial exports, in line with trends like solar cells and mobile phones, continue to expand. However, the ministry highlighted the ongoing contraction in the global manufacturing sector, reported Bangkok Post.

Thai exports rise

September saw Thai exports of agricultural and agro-industrial products rise by 12% year-on-year to US$4.18 billion, with a notable surge in fresh, chilled, frozen, and dried fruit, rice, cassava products, sugar, and animal and vegetable fats and oils. Meanwhile, industrial product exports slightly dipped by 0.3% to US$20.2 billion, with significant downturns in computers, equipment and parts, rubber products, air conditioners and components, motorcycles and parts, and aluminium products.

Nevertheless, segments such as automobiles, equipment and auto parts, gems and jewellery excluding gold, telephones, equipment and parts, electrical transformers and parts, and semiconductors, transistors, and diodes showed growth.

Keerati explained that the recovery of key markets remains inconsistent, partly due to enduring geopolitical risks, international conflicts, and persistently high-interest rates, which have contributed to the global demand slowdown. Despite this, Thailand’s export performance in September outshined several countries, including India, South Korea, China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Only Vietnam reported growth during this period.

In the first three quarters of the year, Thai exports and imports declined by 3.8% and 6.0%, respectively, resulting in a trade deficit of US$5.83 billion. Despite the better-than-expected export performance in September, the Thai National Shippers’ Council, headed by Chaichan Chareonsuk, maintains its forecast for a contraction of -1% this year.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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