By THE NATION
The key driving factor was gold exports, which increased by 40 per cent over the period as exporters wanted to benefit from the price gap, while people purchased more of the metal for safety reasons.
The institute also projected a good trend in the second half of this year. The trade war between China and the US is being seen as another positive factor for the export of gems and jewellery products from Thailand as they will replace those from China.
Institute director Duangkamol Jiambutr said Thailand’s exports in the first half touched $7.244 billion, up 15.21 per cent compared to the same period in 2018, or about Bt228.68 billion, up 15.37 per cent in baht terms if sales in the same period last year were compared. Excluding gold, which is a product with fluctuating prices, gem and jewellery exports however were $3.84 billion, down 0.44 per cent compared to the same first-half period last year, or at Bt121.43 billion, down 0.31 per cent.
Individual exporters wanted make a profit from the price gap after a significant increase in gold prices on the world market. The tariff battle between the United States and China as well as the conflict between the US and Mexico and Canada led to greater demand for gold on the global market for personal security reasons, she said.
Thailand’s gems and jewellery exports to India posted the highest growth, which increased by 95.14 per cent in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year. Exports to Asean were the second highest, after an increase of exports to Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia, all of which were up by 96.12 per cent, 56.37 per cent, and 44.11 per cent, respectively.
However, the kingdom’s gems and jewellery exports to Hong Kong and the European Union dropped 7.57 per cent and 13.06 per cent, respectively, in the first half, compared to the same period last year, and were also down to a host of other markets – by 3.50 per cent to the US, 1.48 per cent to the Middle East, 1.48 per cent to Japan, 9.89 per cent to the Pacific Islands, 27.83 per cent to Russia, and 78.85 per cent to the Commonwealth of Independent States.