Year-end exports set to maintain growth

Year-end exports set to maintain growth

Smaller contraction seen for whole year

Workers at an assembly line process crab meat for export and domestic consumption. Exports for the remaining two months of the year are expected to continue to expand, possibly resulting in a smaller contraction for the whole year than anticipated, according to the Commerce Ministry. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Workers at an assembly line process crab meat for export and domestic consumption. Exports for the remaining two months of the year are expected to continue to expand, possibly resulting in a smaller contraction for the whole year than anticipated, according to the Commerce Ministry. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Exports for the remaining two months of the year are expected to continue to expand, possibly resulting in a smaller contraction for the whole year than anticipated, according to the Commerce Ministry.

Permanent commerce secretary Keerati Rushchano said on Monday the performance of exports during November and December is likely to maintain growth, leading to the contraction for the whole year narrowing to roughly 1%, much lower than the rate of contraction recorded during the first 10 months.

Nonetheless, he admitted that attaining positive export growth for 2023 would be challenging, despite extensive efforts that have already been made, especially in collaboration with the private sector to tap into new markets and address trade-related issues which resulted in a sustained improvement in export recovery.

According to Mr Keerati, the Commerce Ministry, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, initiated "Quick Win" plans to drive exports in the final quarter this year.

The plan encompasses 73 activities conducted both domestically and internationally, with an anticipated impact of boosting exports by over 12.4 billion baht.

Key activities include online business talks, participation in international trade shows, organising delegations to visit international exhibitions, such as Automechanika in Dubai, the American Film Market in the US, Anuga and Medica in Germany, along with promoting top Thai products on popular e-commerce platforms, including Shopee in Malaysia and Rakuten in Japan.

On Monday, the Commerce Ministry reported exports increased for a third straight month in October, up by 8% to US$23.5 billion, while imports increased by 10.2% to $24.4 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $832 million.

Exports from the real sector (excluding gold, oil-related products, and weaponry) grew by 5.4% year-on-year in October.

For the first 10 months, Thai exports decreased by 2.7% to roughly $237 billion while imports decreased by 4.6% to $243 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $6.66 billion.

"The increase in October's exports was propelled by a rebound in global demand. Positive signals were observed across various key products, including computers, plastic pellets, rubber products, animal food, furniture and components. This growth was supported by the gradual recovery of demand during the year-end festive season," said Mr Keerati.

"The global average inflation rate started to decrease, although interest rates remained persistently high. There were indications that stringent financial control measures, particularly in the US, were nearing conclusion.

"Concurrently, China's extensive stimulus measures began to show results, leading to a recovery in consumption and investment figures within China. The Israel-Hamas situation remained contained, with no significant impact on overall exports," he said.

Exports of agricultural and agro-industrial products expanded by 9.3% year-on-year in October to $3.94 billion, led by rice (+37.7%), cassava products (+4.8%), fresh, chilled, frozen and dried fruits (+44.6%), dog and cat food (+5.5%), animal and vegetable fats and oils (+20%), fresh, chilled and frozen chicken (+9.6%), sauces and preparations (+29.4%), and canned and processed vegetables (+19.4%).

Industrial product exports bounced back to 5.4% growth in October to $18.3 billion after shrinking by 0.3% in September.

Products with a significant decline included automobiles, equipment and parts (+9%), gems and jewellery, excluding gold (+8.7%), telephone equipment and parts (+15.1%), semiconductors, transistors and diodes (+27.3%), and electrical transformers and parts (+38.5%).

Chaichan Chareonsuk, chairman of the Thai National Shippers' Council, said the collaboration between the government and the private sector has had a noticeable impact on exports, resulting in consecutive positive performances for the past three months.

The private sector is confident that this positive trend will continue for the remaining two months and improve into the next year.

The council forecast the export performance for the fourth quarter will be positive, possibly reaching up to 7%, offsetting the negative balance for the entire year to about 1%.

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