Export growth highest in 62 months

Export growth highest in 62 months

The value of exports rose by 17.56% year on year in January, the largest increment in 62 months, Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said on Wednesday.

Exports last month were estimated at US$20.10 billion. It made a good start for this year and the baht's appreciation had no impact, he said.

"The target export growth for this year is 8%. To meet it, export value must be at least $21.41 billion a month. I am confident the target can be achieved due to improved export campaigns," Mr Sontirat said.

Commerce officials would promote exports in potential markets like China, India, CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) and Russia. They would also increase exports of fruits and services, enable small and medium-sized enterprises to export their products and use online trade channels, he said.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, attributed the high export growth in January to the economic recovery worldwide, including Thailand's trading partners, and effective export promotions.

The value of exports to CLMV rose by 18.4% and to Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States by 72%. The appreciated baht had no negative effects because the currencies of Thailand's competitors in the same region were also stronger, Ms Pimchanok said.

Most export items experienced growth -- particularly rice (37.2% increase), tapioca (42.3%), frozen and processed raw chicken (18.4%), frozen, canned and processed seafood (20.4%), automobiles and parts (18.2%), computers and parts (21.5%), engines and parts (87.9%) and chemical products (40.5%).

Rising sales were recorded to most markets, including Japan (up 26.3%), the United States (11.3%) and the European Union (8.9%).

In January the value of imports stood at $20.22 billion, rising 24.26%. This resulted in a trade deficit of $119.2 million. Trade was also in deficit in December.

Most imports were of raw materials (up 39.4%) and capital goods (27.1%) for export-oriented production, and operators took the opportunity provided by the strong baht, Ms Pimchanok said.

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