Thailand Trade Balance


Trade balance turns negative despite a rebound in exports

In May, exports expanded 7.7% over the same month last year to USD 20.9 billion, which contrasted the 3.7% contraction observed in April and exceeded market expectations that had exports increasing only 0.4%. The improvement in May reflected strong growth in exports of agricultural goods (+12.6% year-on-year), electronics (+10.3% yoy) and shipments of cars, which soared 70.9% in annual terms, as car manufacturing is rapidly recovering from last year's flooding. Imports increased 18.2% in May to USD 22.7 billion, which was more than double the 7.9% expansion recorded in April. The healthy reading revealed how businesses replaced damaged machinery, with imports of capital goods soaring 47.3% in annual terms. Despite the improvement seen exports, the trade balance incurred a deficit of USD 1.7 billion in May, which contrasted the USD 250 million surplus recorded in the same month last year. The Ministry of Commerce expects exports to recover in the second half of this year and maintained its exports growth estimate for this year at 15%. Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand expects exports to expand 9.2% this year, before accelerating to 14.6% in 2013

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