Cross-border volume down
Thailand's cross-border trade, including transit trade, fell by 4.88% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2020, spurred on by the pandemic and the slowing economy.
The Commerce Ministry's Foreign Trade Department reported on Wednesday that overall border and transit trade totalled 968.87 billion baht, with Malaysia registering as the biggest partner by value and rubber fetching the highest value among products traded.
Transit trade involves the passage of goods through more than one country.
Of the total figures, exports represented 563.95 billion baht, down 4.66% from last year, while imports shrank by 5.19% to 404.92 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of 159.02 billion.
Border trade with Thailand's four neighbouring countries amounted to 561.10 billion baht, down 10.03% year-on-year. Of the total, exports stood at 329.87 billion baht, down 8.45%, and imports stood at 231.22 billion, down 12.19%. Thailand maintained a trade surplus of 98.64 billion baht.
Two-way trade with Malaysia totalled 175.10 billion baht (down 17.23%), followed by trade with Laos (139.68 billion, down 5.60%), Myanmar (127.01 billion, down 12.83%) and Cambodia (119.30 billion, up 0.73%).
Overall, transit trade rose 3.25% between January and September of this year to 407.77 billion baht.
Transit trade with southern China and Singapore rose by 18.19% and 11.89%, respectively, representing values of 176.21 billion and 64.44 billion baht. Important exports included fruit, computers and components, rubber products, engines and electric circuits.
Transit trade value through Vietnam and other countries fell by 15.05% and 9.71% to 45.58 billion baht and 121.57 billion baht, respectively. Other countries include secondary importers such as Hungary, Russia, India, Croatia, the EU and the United States.
Keerati Rushchano, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the main factors affecting border trade volume were the pandemic and the resulting closure of border checkpoints to curb outbreaks.
Only 36 of 97 border checkpoints nationwide were open as of Oct 28.