Exports rise for sixth straight month

Exports rise for sixth straight month

Imports rose 2.6%, while rice export volumes up 17.6%

Bangkok Port in Bangkok's Khlong Toei district. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)
Bangkok Port in Bangkok's Khlong Toei district. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

Thailand's customs-cleared exports rose for the sixth consecutive month in January and were up 10% annually or more than expected, the Commerce Ministry said on Friday.

The reading compared with an 8.8% rise forecast in a Reuters poll and followed December's 4.7% rise.

Meanwhile, imports rose 2.6% in January from a year earlier, beating a forecast for a 3.1% decline.

Thailand posted a trade deficit of US$2.76 billion in January versus a forecast for a $1.54 billion deficit.

January's rice export volumes rose 17.6% annually.

Thailand, the world's second-largest shipper of the grain, expects to export 7.5 million metric tonnes of rice in 2024, down about 14.4% from a year earlier, due to lower production and increased competition.

Overall, Thailand is targeting export growth of 1% to 2% this year, but last month, the Commerce Ministry said achieving that target could be challenging. Shipments, a key driver of Thailand's economy, dropped 1% last year.

"Regarding the export outlook of 2024, the export trends continue to expand, driven by the global economic recovery, easing of the global inflation situation, demand for food security measures from several countries, and economic cooperation in robust regions," the ministry said in a statement.

However, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) warned that the Thai export sector has lost competitiveness in global markets, with the market share of rice shipments falling by more than 50% over the past 20 years.

Thai Hom mali rice. (Photo: Chakrapan Natanri)

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