By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
The ministry reported that exports in the first 10 months were valued at US$191.53 billion (Bt6.137 trillion), while imports increased by 1.4 per cent to $210.97 billion. Thailand thus locked in a trade deficit of $19.44 billion in the period.
“Exports this year will face slower growth than expected, at only 1 per cent, because of sluggish trading in many markets, the dropping price of farm crops, and lower competitiveness,” said Urawee Ngowroongrueng, deputy permanent secretary of the ministry.
She said the ministry forecast that the value of exports in the remaining two months would be $19 billion to $20 billion, so annualised export growth would end up at about 1 per cent.
Urawee said export next year should shows signs of recovering if there are no severe negative factors. The current political conflict is expected to end soon, so it should not affect the export or manufacturing sectors.
In October alone, exports declined 0.67 per cent year on year to $19.39 billion. Imports also dropped 5.37 per cent to $21.16 billion, resulted in a trade deficit of $1.77 billion in the month.
Exports last month to many major markets declined, particularly Japan, down 12.1 per cent, followed by five countries in Asean (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei), down 16.2 per cent. Exports to South Asia dropped 15.1 per cent, to South Korea 3.2 per cent, and to Canada 9.9 per cent.
However, shipments to some markets increased in October. Exports to the United States grew 6.5 per cent, to the European Union (15 countries) 7 per cent, to mainland China 14.5 per cent, and to Hong Kong 3.2 per cent.
Amparwon Pichalai, deputy director general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said exports declined last month in both the agricultural and industrial sectors.
Shipments of farm and agri-industrial products dropped significantly by 4.3 per cent year on year in October, compared with a 5.9-per-cent decline in the first 10 months.
She said the decline in agricultural and agri-industrial products was partly due to shortage of raw materials, especially shrimp. Prices of many agricultural commodities also decreased, such as rice and rubber.
Export of industrial goods dropped 0.8 per cent last month, but grew 0.6 per cent in the first 10 months of the year.