Thailand: Trade deficit narrows in November amid stronger exports
December 28, 2012
In November, the trade balance showed a USD 1.5 billion deficit. The result represents an improvement compared to the USD 2.5 billion deficit registered in the same month the year before. As a result, the trade balance recorded a USD 19.3 billion shortfall in the 12-months up to November, mirroring the figure recorded in the previous month.
Exports surged 26.9% over the same month the previous year, which overshot the already strong 15.6% expansion tallied in October and marked, in fact, the fastest growth rate since August 2011. The print also overshot market expectations of a 26.5% increase. As result, the 12-month sum of exports rose 2.3%, which contrasted the 0.9% decline recorded in October.
Meanwhile, imports jumped 24.5% annually in November, which followed the 21.6% increase tallied in October. As a result, the 12-month sum of imports increased 10.2% in November (October: +8.0% year-on-year).
On a negative note, in 2012 Thailand lost its three-decade old title as the world's top rice exporter to Vietnam. According to latest figures from the Thai Rice Exporters Association and the Commerce Ministry, rice exports recorded 6.9 million metric tons in 2012, well below the 10.7 metric tons registered in 2011.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist