Thailand: Merchandise trade shows first surplus in seven months
October 31, 2012
In September, exports expanded 0.2% over the same month last year to USD 20.8 billion, which contrasted the 7.0% decline recorded in August. The reading, which marked the first increase after three consecutive contractions, surprised market expectations of a 2.0% decline. Healthy growth in exports of cars as well as of metal and steel products was the main driver behind the September expansion. On the other hand, imports fell 7.7% in September to USD 19.6 billion, which followed the 8.8% contraction recorded in August. Consequently, the trade balance recorded a USD 1.2 billion surplus (the first since March), which contrasted the USD 530 million deficit observed in the same month last year. The Ministry of Commerce recently revised down its forecast and now expects exports to grow 5% (previously reported: 15%), while the Finance Ministry sees exports growing 4.5%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist