Exports down 4.5% in October

Exports down 4.5% in October

Rice farmers harvest in Surin province. The declining export of rice plays a part in the country's 4.5% export drop in October, according to the Commerce Ministry. (File photo by Nopparat Kingkaew)
Rice farmers harvest in Surin province. The declining export of rice plays a part in the country's 4.5% export drop in October, according to the Commerce Ministry. (File photo by Nopparat Kingkaew)

Exports dropped by 4.5% year-on-year in October to US$20.8 billion, bringing the contraction in first 10 months of 2019 to 2.35% with a negative outlook, according to the Commerce Ministry.

Pimchanok Vonkorporn, director-general of the ministry's Trade Policy and Strategy Office, attributed the significant decline to lower oil prices and the economic problems of Thailand's trading partners.

Crude prices fell nearly 25%, resulting in a 35.4% decline in the value of refined oil exports and a 25.8% fall in the value of oil-related exports, she said on Thursday.

Noticeable decreases were also seen in the exports of rice, tapioca products, natural rubber, prawns, oil-related products, iron, steel, iron and steel-related products, television sets and TV parts.

The declines in dollar terms affected most markets such as the European Union (-8.8%), Asean (-9.3%), China (-4.2%), India (-17.2%), Hong Kong (-3.4%), South Korea (-1.1%), Australia (-7.1%), Latin America (-13.2%), and Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (-10.8%).

Meanwhile, export value rose in the United States (48%), Japan (0.5%) and Switzerland (97%).

Miss Pimchanok said the impacts of China-US trade war might have eased because the exports of computers and parts rose for the first time in 13 months, by 2.74%.

There were also signs of growth in the exports of sugar, vegetables, fruits, wheat-based products, ready-to-eat foods, garments, cosmetics, soaps, skincare products, furniture and parts, watches and parts, switchboards, and electrical distribution boards.

In October, imports totalled $20.25 billion (-7.6%), resulting to a trade surplus of $506.5 million.

In the first 10 months of this year, exports were valued at $207.3 billion, down by 2.3%. Imports were estimated at $199.4 billion, down 4.1%. The trade surplus was at $7.9 billion.

Miss Pimchanok said exports this month should continue to shrink but the value in December should rise due to its low base of only $19.4 billion in December last year.

She predicted that 2019 exports would fall by 1.5-1.6%.

For next year, exports would continue to face high risks because the economic slowdown that was expanding to major trading partners of Thailand, low oil prices and the strong baht, Mrs Pimchanok said.


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