Thailand: Export growth continues to ease
June 30, 2011
In May, exports expanded 17.3% over the same month last year to reach USD 19.3 billion, according to data from the Central Bank. The reading slowed from the 24.7% expansion observed in April but was virtually in line with market expectations of a 17.0% rise. The slower expansion mainly reflected weaker overseas sales to Japan, which expanded 30.4% year-on-year in May (April: +39.5% yoy). Meanwhile, imports accelerated from a 26.3% increase in April to rise 34.4% in May, which pushed imports up to USD 19.0 billion, driving the trade balance to a surplus of USD 274 million, which contrasted the trade deficit observed in the previous month (April: USD 477 million). Despite the monthly slowdown, export growth is likely to follow the positive trend, with the 3-month sum in exports rising to USD 57.6 billion in May from USD 56.7 billion in April. The Commerce Ministry has revised its growth estimates for this year and now expects exports will grow between 15% and 16%, up from its previous 12% projection. Moreover, the Central Bank expects overseas shipments to expand 20.4% this year before slowing to 12.4% in 2012.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist