In a significant turnaround, Thailand’s exports experienced a notable upswing in August, marking the first positive growth in 11 months, according to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce. The surge in exports was a welcome development, with trade valued at $24,279 million, surpassing market expectations of -3.5% to -5.0%. This turnaround was largely attributed to the impressive performance of both the agricultural and industrial product groups.
Agricultural products, which had faced challenges, returned to expansion after four months of contraction. Similarly, the industrial product group rebounded, ending three months of decline. These positive trends propelled Thailand’s exports forward.
In contrast, imports in August declined by 12.8%, resulting in a trade surplus of $360 million for Thailand during the month.
Looking at the broader picture for the first eight months of the year (January to August), Thailand’s total exports were valued at $187,593 million, representing a decrease of 4.5%. Imports stood at $195,518 million, down 5.7%. Consequently, Thailand maintained a trade deficit of $7,925 million during this period.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce expressed optimism regarding the fourth quarter of the year, anticipating further positive growth in Thai exports. He attributed this optimism to an influx of orders following established industry cycles, coupled with a low base comparison from the same period in 2022.
“It is expected that October to December exports will see positive developments due to the influx of orders and the favorable cyclical factors. The overall export picture for the entire year should range from -1% to 0%. Despite the challenging conditions this year, we are positioned favorably compared to ASEAN countries, many of which have experienced negative export figures,” remarked the Permanent Secretary.
To achieve a non-negative or zero growth rate for Thai exports this year, the value of exports during the remaining four months (September to December) must consistently reach at least $24,960 million per month.
An examination of the Thai export market reveals that most segments have resumed expansion, aligning with global indicators of improving industrial production. Key markets have shown encouraging signs of growth, with the U.S. market leading the way with a 21.7% increase, followed by the Chinese market, which expanded by 1.9%, and the Japanese market, surging by 15.7%. Secondary markets also experienced positive growth, with notable performances in Australia (22.4%), Russia and CIS (30.4%), and the United Kingdom (10.7%).
The reversal in Thailand’s export trajectory is a promising sign for the country’s economic recovery, offering hope for sustained growth in the coming months.