Thailand: Exports moderate pace of contraction as floods recede
January 31, 2012
In December, exports declined 2.1% over the same month the previous year and reached USD 16.9 billion. The reading followed the devastating 13.1% plunge witnessed in November, which had marked the deepest contraction since August 2009. The December fall was in line with market expectations and mainly reflected contractions in overseas sales of manufacturing products and declines in exports of agricultural products. Meanwhile, imports soared 19.6% in December (November: -1.9% year-on-year), on the back of higher imports of food and capital goods, particularly purchases of vehicle parts, as production shortages in the car industry are beginning to fade. The trade balance incurred a deficit of USD 238 million in December, which contrasted the USD 218 million surplus registered in November. For the full year 2011, exports grew 17.2% and reached USD 228 billion, which was well above the USD 189 billion recorded in 2010. The Commerce Ministry estimates that exports will grow 15% this year to USD 263 billion, while the Central Bank expects export growth to moderate to 4.0% this year.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist