Saudi trade set to surge by 20%
Bilateral trade between Thailand and Saudi Arabia is forecast to surge by 20% this year after the two countries recently agreed to restore full diplomatic relations for the first time in more than three decades, according to a Commerce Ministry study.
Ronnarong Phoolpipat, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) under the Commerce Ministry, said the TPSO has studied the opportunities to export products to the Saudi market. It found that Saudi Arabia, which had previously been one of Thailand's export markets, could potentially help boost exports.
He cited data from the World Bank that showed that Saudi Arabia's GDP was valued at US$700 trillion with average per capita income of $46,700 in 2021. Saudi's GDP growth is estimated at 4.9% in 2022 and 2.3% in 2023, driven by higher crude oil prices as well as non-oil-related economic activities.
Saudi Arabia is Thailand's second-largest market in the Middle East after Turkey.
The TPSO forecast bilateral trade between Thailand and Saudi Arabia to reach 280.33 billion baht in 2022, up by 20.3% from a year before. Of the total, exports are expected to represent 54.67 billion baht, up by 6.2%, with imports valued at 225.65 billion baht, up by 24.3%.
Key export products which have high growth potential include automobiles and components, rubber products, gems and jewellery, machinery and mechanical components, canned and processed seafood, chilled and frozen fresh fruit and dried fruits.
Imports are mainly crude oil, chemicals, refined oil, metal ores and scrap products, mineral products, appliances, home furnishings and automotive components and equipment.
In 2021, trade tallied about 241.36 billion baht ($7.30 billion). Of the total, exports accounted for 53.88 billion baht ($1.63 billion), and imports made up 187.12 billion baht ($5.66 billion.)