Thailand: Exports contract for third consecutive month
March 20, 2012
In January, exports contracted 6.0% over the same month last year to reach USD 15.7 billion. The reading followed the 2.1% decline in December and the sharp 12.5% plunge recorded in November. The January fall surprised private sector analysts, who had expected exports to increase 1.2%, and reflected a contraction in shipments of manufacturing products, particularly in overseas sales of cars and textiles, as well as a decline in exports of agricultural products. Meanwhile, imports dropped 4.2% in January (December: +19.1% year-on-year), suggesting that the recovery in manufacturing remains sluggish. As a result, the trade balance incurred a deficit of USD 1.1 billion in January, which was narrower than the USD 2.1 billion gap recorded in December. The Ministry of Commerce believes that exports will recover in the coming months and grow 15% this year. Meanwhile, the Central Bank expects export growth to moderate to 4.0% this year.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist