Thailand Trade December 2019


Thailand: Fall in exports moderates in December

January 23, 2020

Thai exports contracted again in December, falling 1.3% year-on-year (November: -7.4% year-on-year). The fall in outbound shipments was driven by a strong drop in cars, parts and accessories; precious stones and jewelry; chemical products; polymers of ethylene and propylene; and refine fuels. Imports, on the other hand, grew 2.5% year-on-year (November: -13.8% year-on-year).

As a consequence, the trade surplus narrowed from USD 1.3 billion in December 2018 to USD 0.6 billion in December 2019 (November: USD 0.5 billion). The 12-month moving sum also narrowed, from USD 10.3 billion in November to USD 9.6 billion in December.

This year, export growth should rebound but this is partly due to a low base effect. The performance of the external sector will largely depend on exogenous developments, such as continued progress in the U.S.-China trade dispute in the wake of the signing of a ‘phase one’ deal in mid-January; while a stronger-than-expected slowdown in China could weigh on exports.

FocusEconomics panelists expect exports to expand 1.6% in 2020. The panel sees imports increasing 2.8% in 2020, which would bring the trade surplus to USD 17.6 billion. In 2021, exports and imports are expected to increase 4.0% and 3.3% respectively, with the trade surplus widening to USD 19.9 billion.

Author:, Economist

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Thailand Trade Chart

Thailand Trade12 December 2019 0

Note: 12-month sum of trade balance in USD billion and annual variation of the 12-month sum of exports and imports in %.
Source: Bank of Thailand (BoT) and FocusEconomics calculations.

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