Surprise exports jump in July

Surprise exports jump in July

Gold shipments lifted exports in July, for a year-on-year rise for the first time in five months. (File photo)
Gold shipments lifted exports in July, for a year-on-year rise for the first time in five months. (File photo)

Exports unexpectedly rose for the first time in five months in July, up 4.3% from the same month a year earlier, largely boosted by higher shipments of gold as a safe-haven asset.

The Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday that customs-cleared outbound shipments amounted to US$21.2 billion after contracting by 2.2% year-on-year in June, 5.8% in May, 2.6% in April and 4.9% in March.

Exports increased to most major trading partners, including the US, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, especially for fresh, frozen and processed fruits and automobiles.

Exports to India also remained robust. But exports to the CLMV nations and Asean shrank because of oil and oil-related products.

Shipments of agricultural and agro-industrial products returned to positive growth of 1.4% after falling 9% in June. Top performers were fresh, frozen and processed fruits (+26.1%), rubber (+9.6%), cassava products (+8.7%), and fresh, frozen and processed shrimp (+7.3%).

Meanwhile, exports of some key products declined, including rice (-27.2%), sugar (-25.4%) and canned tuna (-13.6%).

In the first seven months of 2019, exports of agricultural and agro-industrial products contracted 1.7%.

In contrast, industrial product exports remained positive for a second straight month after a 0.04% rise in June. Top performers in July were gold (+406.9%), cosmetics, soaps and skincare products (+17%) and air conditioners (+4.2%).

Shipments of some industrial items decreased, including oil-related products (-14.2%), computers and parts (-5.9%) and automobiles and parts (-2.9%).

In the first seven months of 2019, industrial product exports contracted 1.4%.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said that despite a variety of challenges in common with other export-oriented countries, many positive factors should strengthen exports, particularly new rising-star products, opportunities to substitute products subject to retaliatory measures in US and China markets, expansion of tourism-related products, potential exports to new markets and export promotion schemes now underway.

Easing monetary policy would also diminish the baht-appreciation effect in the fourth quarter of the year, she said.


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