Thailand: Exports contract sharply in November
Thai exports dropped 7.4% year-on-year in November, down from the 4.5% fall recorded in October. The drop in exports was driven by a strong decline in automotive, chemical products, refined fuels, and polymers of ethylene and propylene exports among others—only four of the top 15 export categories recorded growth in the month. Imports, meanwhile, dropped 13.8% year-on-year in November, down from the 7.6% decline in October.
The trade surplus, however, was stable at USD 0.5 billion in November from the prior month, swinging from the USD 0.9 billion shortfall in November 2018. The 12-month moving sum of the trade balance, meanwhile, rose from a USD 8.8 billion surplus in October to USD 10.3 billion in November.
Looking at 2020, export growth should pick up momentum though this partly reflects a low base effect. Likewise, the external sector’s performance will largely depend on developments regarding the Sino-American trade conflict.