Thailand: Exports contract unexpectedly in April
May 31, 2012
In April, exports dropped 3.7% over the same month last year to USD 16.9 billion. The reading was above the 6.5% contraction observed in March but surprised market analysts, who had expected a 3.0% expansion. With the April reading, shipments have recorded almost six consecutive monthly contractions. The drop in April reflected a contraction in shipments of agricultural products, particularly of rice, which have been declining since September 2011. On the other hand, exports of cars and car parts expanded 22.4% in annual terms, its fastest pace since January 2011. Imports expanded 7.9% in April to USD 19.8 billion, well below the 25.6% expansion recorded in March. The reading reflected strong growth in imports of capital goods, which suggests that the recovery in manufacturing remains on track. As a result, the trade deficit narrowed from USD 4.6 billion in March to USD 2.9 billion in April. The Bank of Thailand expects exports to expand 9.2% this year, before accelerating to 14.6% in 2013.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist