Export contraction steepens in October

Export contraction steepens in October

Thai exports saw a wider contraction in October, with the rate dropping by 6.71% from the same month of last year after the registering a drop of 3.9% year-on-year in September.

The Commerce Ministry reported on Monday the country's customs-cleared exports fetched US$19.38 billion in October, with imports shrinking 14.32% to $17.33 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $2.04 billion.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office under the Commerce Ministry, said despite a wider contraction, export values in many markets picked up growth in October, reflecting a gradual recovery of demand from trading partners after control measures were relaxed and economic stimulus packages kicked in.

This aligns with the global economic momentum, which began to show further signs of recovery, she said.

Exports to the main markets expanded by 4.8%, led by the US markets, which rose by 17.0% from October last year.

Exports to South Asian markets rebounded to 15.6% expansion, with those to Australia and Latin America markets also bouncing back to 4.2% and 12.9% growth, respectively.

According to the report, exports of agricultural and agro-industrial products decreasedby 8.8% in October to $3.14 billion, led by sugar (-75%), rice (-20.1%), cassava products (-12.4%), canned and processed seafood (-3%), frozen and processed chicken (-1.5%).

Nonetheless, some products still expanded favourably, for example, palm oils (+183.0%), pet food (+17.4%), rubber (+13.1%), food seasoning (+10.6%) fresh, frozen, canned and processed fruits and vegetables (+6.9%).

Exports of industrial products decreased by 4.7%to $15.8 billion in October led by golds (-27.1%), related oil products (-19.8%), cosmetic, soap and skincare products (-13.2%) and automobiles, equipment and parts (-12.6%).

Some products expanded favourably, such as semiconductors, transistors and diodes (+25.7%), furniture and parts (+19.5%), rubber products (+17.6%), computer equipment and parts (+4.2%) and air conditioner and parts (+3.8%).

For the first ten months of 2020, Thai exports contracted 7.26% to $192.37 billion while imports dropped 14.61% to $169.70 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $22.67 billion.

"Thailand exports have continued the recovery trend and many products have competitiveness in several markets.," she said.

"We expect overall exports to contract by only 7% this year if exports fetch an average of $18.329 billion a month in the remaining two months. If exports fetched average $19 billion, overall exports will definitely see a contraction of less than 7% this year."

She noted risk factors still exist, particularly with a second round of outbreaks among trading partners resulting in reinstated lockdown measures, slowing border trade and the baht's strength.

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