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Thailand Trade Balance April 2021

Thailand: Merchandise exports increase at a quicker pace in April

Merchandise exports rose 13.1% annually in April, following March’s 8.5% upturn. April’s reading marked the strongest outturn since April 2018. Meanwhile, merchandise imports surged 29.8% over the same month last year in April (March: +14.1% yoy), marking the best result since January 2013.

As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 0.2 billion surplus in April (March 2021: USD 0.7 billion surplus; April 2020: USD 2.6 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend pointed down, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 18.1 billion surplus in April, compared to the USD 20.4 billion surplus in March.

Looking ahead, as the worldwide recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic continues and vaccination rates gain momentum, exports are set to gain momentum on the back of improved foreign demand. That said, the surge in Covid-19 cases through April–May, a slow vaccine rollout and domestic political challenges at home all pose risks to the outlook.

Regarding the external sector, Sian Fenner, lead Asia economist at Oxford Economics, commented:

“The outlook faces several headwinds, including the latest restrictions, global shipping delays, and the ongoing chip shortage. Nonetheless, we still look for goods exports to trend higher this year as global trade rebounds.”

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