In a significant development, Thai exports in August experienced a notable recovery, marking a 2.6% year-on-year increase. This turnaround comes after a challenging 11-month period characterized by continuous declines in exports, as highlighted by Kirati Ratchano, the permanent secretary of commerce, during an announcement made today (26 September).
The total value of exports for August reached approximately 8.25 billion baht (equivalent to US$24,279.6 million). This positive performance is especially encouraging following a prolonged ten-month decline in exports. Concurrently, imports for the same period decreased by 12.8%, amounting to 8.23 billion baht (US$23,919.7 million). This outcome resulted in a trade surplus of around 2.46 billion baht (US$359.9 million).
For the first eight months of this year, Thai exports totaled about 6.3 trillion baht (US$187.6 billion), reflecting a year-on-year decline of 4.5%. Imports also decreased by 5.7%, reaching approximately 6.7 trillion baht (US$195.5 billion). Consequently, there was a trade deficit of approximately 353 billion baht (US$7.9 billion).
Kirati noted that Thailand’s export performance in August surpassed that of many countries in the region. For instance, India reported a 6.9% decrease in exports, while Taiwan, South Korea, China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia experienced even more substantial declines at -7.3%, -8.3%, -8.8%, -12.6%, -21.2%, and -21.2%, respectively.
The resurgence in Thailand’s exports can be attributed to a 4.2% increase in the export of agricultural products, marking the first positive trend in four months. However, exports of industrial products declined by 7.6%.
Notable improvements in the export of farm products included a 99.8% increase in exports of frozen and dried fruits such as fresh mangosteen, a 10% rise in rice exports, a 26.5% growth in canned and processed vegetables, a 13.2% increase in dairy and dairy product exports, and a 22.8% upswing in frozen and dried vegetable exports.
Meanwhile, exports of industrial products in August experienced a 2.5% increase, marking the first positive trend in three months. This category included a 5.2% increase in exports of cars, accessories, and spare parts, a substantial 39.8% surge in electric circuit exports, a 6.4% growth in machinery and parts exports, a remarkable 36.9% rise in exports of phones and accessories, a substantial 74.5% increase in exports of semiconductors and transistors, and a 59.1% surge in exports of transformers and accessories.
Furthermore, exports to key markets in August increased by 2.3%, with notable growth rates including a 21.7% rise in exports to the US, a 15.7% increase in exports to Japan, and a 1.9% increase in exports to China. Conversely, exports to ASEAN, the European Union, and CLMV decreased by 1.5%, 11.6%, and 21.3%, respectively.
Kirati expressed optimism about the outlook for exports in September and the final quarter of the year, expecting a continued rebound.