Thailand: Trade deficit narrows in March amid record drop in imports
April 22, 2013
In March, the trade balance recorded a USD 870 million deficit, which was smaller than the USD 4.6 billion shortfall registered in the same month last year. As a result, the trade balance posted a USD 20.8 billion shortfall in the 12-months up to March, which was smaller than the USD 24.5 billion deficit recorded in the previous month.
Exports increased 4.5% annually in March, which contrasted the 5.8% drop observed in February and were above market expectations of a 2.7% increase. On the back of stronger-than-expected export growth, the 12-month sum of exports rose 5.4%, up from the 4.7% increase recorded in February.
Meanwhile, imports fell 11.5% in March, which contrasted the 5.3% increase recorded in February and marked the largest drop in more than three years. Consequently, the 12-month sum of imports increased 9.2%, which was down from the 12.3% increase recorded in February.
The Ministry of Commerce expects overall exports to grow between 8% and 9% this year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists expect exports to increase 7.8% in 2013 to USD 247 billion. For 2014, panellists expect export growth to accelerate to 9.1%, which will push overseas sales to USD 270 billion.
Author: Armando Ciccarelli, Head of Data Solutions