By Somluck Srimalee
Thai exports thus contracted 2.2 per cent in the first eight months of the year.
The ministry is nevertheless maintaining its export target at 3 per cent by using mature markets, expanding into new ones and restoring trade with long-lost partners.
Minister Jurin Laksanawisit will soon visit China and India to expand market opportunities for agricultural commodities and aims to unlock obstacles to trade with neighbouring countries.
The ministry noted that uncertainty stemming from international trade disputes is having a worldwide impact and also slowing the economies of most of Thailand’s major trading partners, particularly in South and Southeast Asia.
A decline in global oil prices is meanwhile suppressing the export of oil-related products, and a global oversupply of agricultural products and the baht’s appreciation both threaten Thailand’s situation.
Thai exports to some destinations have expanded, up 5.8 per cent to the US, 18.4 per cent to Australia and 5.3 per cent to the Middle East. But exports to China are down 2.7 per cent, to the Asean+5 countries 24.6 per cent and to the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam cluster 22.7 per cent.
Trade in agricultural and agro-industrial products decreased 4.4 per cent. Rice is down 44.7 per cent, cassava products 25.3 per cent and rubber 7.2 per cent, whereas fresh, frozen and processed fruits are up 26.8 per cent, fresh and frozen chicken 5.6 per cent and wheat products and other prepared foods 13.5 per cent.
Industrial product exports dropped 1.9 per cent largely as a result of fewer automobiles going to Australia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
While oil-related products are suffering, gold is up 377.5 per cent, jewellery and accessories 51.1 per cent, and motorcycles and parts 9.2 per cent.