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Thai trade deficit tops $8b in first 4 months of year

Publication Date : 26-05-2012


Thailand recorded a large trade deficit of US$8.05 billion in the first four months of the year, amid declining export growth but huge demand for imports to support the recovery of manufacturing in the aftermath of last year's floods.

The commerce ministry reported yesterday that exports in April dropped by 3.67 per cent year on year to $16.91 billion, mainly from lower demand from major destinations such as European Union.

Meanwhile imports last month grew 7.87 per cent to $19.78 billion, resulting in trade deficit of $2.86 billion.

Exports in the first four months contracted by 3.86 per cent to $71.56 billion. Imports rose 9.79 per cent to $79.61 billion, resulting in a trade deficit for the period of $8.05 billion.

Despite these figures, Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol said export growth should achieve this year's target of 15 per cent. Exports should expand in the coming months as a clear sign of industrial recovery.

He added that the current trade deficit was not a major concern, as it was largely due to higher imports of machinery and raw materials to support industry's post-flood recovery.

However, some challenges remain, particularly the ongoing economic slowdown in the European Union, which is affecting the whole global economy.

Last month, shipments of agricultural goods dropped by 3.9 per cent and industrial goods by 6.4 per cent.

Rice export was down by 32 per cent in terms of value and by 42.8 per cent in terms of volume, while the value of rubber export dropped by 22.1 per cent. However, shipments of food products grew slightly by 3.9 per cent; tapioca grew by 41 per cent and sugar by 33 per cent.

Shipment of industrial goods dropped, including plastic products by 9.9 per cent, garments by 20.3 per cent, construction materials by 9 per cent, jewellery by 49 per cent, leather goods by 6.7 per cent, and furniture by 13.5 per cent.

However, exports of some products had already recovered by April, including electronic goods by 1.7 per cent, electrical appliances by 2.8 per cent, and automobiles and parts by 28 per cent.

Export to some markets also dropped last month, mainly to the EU, down by 11.4 per cent, the United States by 1.1 per cent, and Japan by 7.7 per cent.


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