Exports drop, but show signs of recovery

Exports drop, but show signs of recovery

Shops on normally bustling Khao San road are quiet as the slump in tourism and exports takes its toll on the economy. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Shops on normally bustling Khao San road are quiet as the slump in tourism and exports takes its toll on the economy. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

Exports were again in negative territory last month but the figures still bolstered confidence at the Commerce Ministry that the worst of the slump might be over.

The ministry reported on Monday that exports in July contracted 11.37% year-on-year to US$18.8 billion as the coronavirus pandemic continued to tame the global economy. Exports for the first seven months dropped 7.72% to $133 billion.

Imports were down 23.68% to $15.5 billion, compared to the same month last year, and 14.69% to $119.1 billion for the year to July.

The trade surplus stood at $14 billion, according to the ministry.

The virus pandemic has throttled demand by consumers and severely damaged the economies of  countries dependent on exports, like Thailand. Exports and tourism are the key drivers of the Thai economy, comprising more than 70% of gross domestic product.

Although exports continued in the red, the ministry was optimistic about trade prospects.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said exports were climbing from the June bottom. The ministry stood by its projection, he said.

Exports in June plummeted 23.2%, the worst since July 2009. The ministry projects exports will end the year down 7-8% overall.

"The value of exports to most major trading partners contracted at a lower rate than the previous month," the ministry statement said.

"This reflects that exports are likely to improve gradually, now that several countries have succeeded in controlling the Covid-19 situation and eased lockdown measures, along with government stimulus measures to accelerate economic recovery after Covid-19," it added.

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