Thailand: Export growth accelerates in October
November 30, 2017
Thailand’s external sector recorded a USD 210 million surplus in October, coming in slightly below the USD 260 million surplus registered in the same month a year ago. The 12-month sum of the trade balance, however, registered the same result as in November, a USD 15.1 billion surplus, making the third consecutive month in which the 12-month sum of the trade balance did not decrease.
Exports grew 13.1% on an annual basis in October, which was above the previous month’s 12.2% expansion. In October, export growth was less broad-based than in the previous month, led by a sizable upsurge in machinery exports. There were also notable increases in the exports of crude materials, mineral fuel and lubricant, as well as manufactured goods. Furthermore, strong export growth was clocked in key markets: Exports to Europe and India grew at the quickest pace in five years. The pace of growth in imports outpaced exports; imports grew 13.5% year-on-year in October and came in notably above the 9.7% expansion in September. The result was chiefly driven by noticeable rises in the import value of mineral fuel and lubricant as well as chemicals.
Despite worries over the strength of the baht, which traded at 32.5 baht against the U.S. dollar on 29 November, the external sector of Thailand, a key driver of growth, continued to perform well. Government officials expect the economy to grow close to 4.0% this year, while the Commerce Ministry also expects the momentum in the external sector to carry over into 2018.
Author: Jan Lammersen, Economist