Exports up for first time in 6 months

Exports up for first time in 6 months

Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri province. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri province. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Exports rose for the first time in six months in January, largely driven by shipments of oil and gold.

The Commerce Ministry reported on Monday that customs-cleared exports rose 3.35% year-on-year in January, fetching US$19.62 billion, with imports dropping 7.86% to $ 21.18 billion, generating a trade deficit of $1.55 billion.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said the export direction reflected positive sentiment from the Phase-1 deal between the United States and China.

Exports of products related to US-China tariff measures such as computers and components expanded in both the US and China markets. Additionally, many rising star products continued to expand favourably such as chilled and frozen chicken, pet foods, canned and processed fruits, food condiments, milk and milk products, beverages, motorcycles and parts, furniture and parts, and cosmetics, soaps and skincare products.

Nonetheless, excluding gold and oil, Thai exports in January 2020 contracted 0.6% from the same month of last year.

Imports decreased by 7.86% in January thanks to a high base of weaponry imports for military exercises in January last year and a decrease in gold imports. Excluding gold, oil and weaponry, imports in January 2020 fell 0.17%.

However, imports of capital goods expanded 5.8% in particular machinery and components which registered the highest growth in 2 years at 18.7%.

In terms of export destination, exports to two major trading partners, the US and China, grew favourably at 9.9 and 5.2%. Also, exports to Taiwan and the Middle East strengthened the upward trend and increased by 13.1% and 2.0%.

Ms Pimchanok said that, overall, exports to most trading partners showed some recovery. Exports to the US and EU (15 countries) expanded 9.9% and 0.6% respectively, with exports to Taiwan recording positive growth for the seventh consecutive month, by 13.1%. Additionally, exports to China, Asean (five countries), and the Middle East rose 5.2%, 3.8% and 2.0% respectively.

"Although the Phase-1 deal between the US and China helps to improve the trading atmosphere and partly reflected on Thai exports in January, the global economy and Thai exports are still facing downside risks from the Covid-19 situation, which could slow down the economic recovery in the short and medium-term, in addition to geopolitical risks and the low oil price," she said. 

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