Thai Export Growth in Q1
Vatchari Vimooktayon said major export items were electrical appliances, auto parts, construction materials and agroindustrial products with combined growth of 0.5 per cent.
Southeast Asia has become a major market for Thailand’s rice, tapioca, vegetables and fruit.
Exports of agricultural produce to the region increased by 8.9 per cent, and 12.5 per cent to secondary market especially to Australia (up 39.1 per cent) and the Middle East (up 12.4 per cent).
Exports to other major markets decreased by 0.4 per cent, including Japan (down 0.9 per cent) and the US (down 4.7 per cent), while the European Union remained a positive market with exports increasing by 5.5 per cent.
The country’s total exports in Q1 reached US$56.966 billion, or an increase of 4.26 per cent year on year.
Ms Vatchari said Thai exports have expanded significantly thanks to positive economic trends in the US, Japan, China and Asia, a higher demand for rice in the global market and depleting rice stocks in competing countries such as India.
The surging Thai baht, at Bt29.5 against the dollar – a three per cent increase in March, has impacted Thai exports, she said, adding that Thai exports may be in the red in Q2.
The Commerce Ministry is meeting with the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Bankers Association to listen to private sector demands for government’s assistance in light of the volatile exchange rate, she said.
Thai commercial envoys worldwide have been instructed to compile information on global trade to help boost Thai exports which were projected to expand by 8-9 per cent, Ms Vatchari said.
Thailand’s imports last month were reported at US$21.636 billion, a decrease by 11.52 per cent. Major imports were oil and fuel, followed by machinery, computers and raw materials.