Exports post slight dip
Shipments better August decline
Exports shrank by 1.39% year-on-year in September but improved from the 4% plunge in August, boosted by higher shipments of industrial products.
The Commerce Ministry said customs-cleared outbound shipments fetched US$20.5 billion in September, down 1.39% from the same month last year, with those in baht terms totalling 626 billion baht, down 7.76%.
Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said September's exports grew in terms of product and market dimension.
Some industrial goods recorded growth, such as automobiles and parts, and electrical circuits.
Some rising star products continued their trend, including radio and television reception and parts, textiles, motorcycles and parts, furniture and parts, and home and kitchen equipment. Agricultural products, namely fresh, frozen and processed fruits and vegetables, and frozen and processed chicken, expanded favourably both in value and quantity.
Exports to the US maintained positive momentum, while exports to Japan, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Latin America bounced back in September, said Ms Pimchanok.
Shipments of agricultural and agro-industrial products fell by 3.1% in September to $3.17 billion, led notably by rice (-32.2%), cassava products (-35.2%), rubber (-15.4%), and frozen and processed shrimp (-10.5%).
Shipments of industrial products rebounded to grow 0.16% in September to $16.6 billion, while gold gained 111%, motorcycles and parts 31.5%, furniture and parts 15.9%, air conditioners and parts 15.1%, automobiles and parts 5.4%, and jewellery and accessories (excluding gold) 0.7%. Exports of oil-related products contracted 16.2%, while computers and parts fell 12.3%.
For the first nine months, exports fell 2.11% year-on-year to $187 billion, with imports down 3.68% at $179 billion, for a surplus of $7.38 billion.
She said the global economy and exports are still clouded by a variety of challenges such as the US-China trade war, US tariffs on EU goods as well as Brexit negotiations.
Farm products also face a glut on the global market while baht appreciation is a limiting factor in the final quarter. However, supply disruption in the Middle East and higher demand during the winter season would raise global oil prices and benefit exports of related products, said Ms Pimchanok.
Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, president of the Thai National Shippers' Council, said September's export contraction came as no surprise, adding it would be unlikely for shipments to register growth this year.
"We expect crop shipments in the final quarter may recover, but the key risk remains the strong baht," said Ms Ghanyapad.