By THE NATION
Imports last year totalled $236.639 billion, down 4.66 per cent.
Exports dropped 1.28 per cent in December year-on-year to $19.154 billion, representing an improvement from November, which saw a 7.4-per-cent decline.
Pimchanok credited the improvement to the US-China trade war’s lessening impact on Thailand.
While overall exports fell last year, those to the US in December expanded 15.6 per cent, the highest growth in 10 months. The expansion came in computers, rubber products and furniture.
Exports to China in December alone rose 7.3 per cent, the highest in 18 months, although for the whole year they shrank 3.8 per cent. Products performing well were fresh, frozen and dried fruit, vehicles and auto parts, computers and frozen chicken.
Exports to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam returned to expansion for the first time in eight months, to 1.1 per cent, but contracted 6.3 per cent over the whole year.
Exports to Japan last year dropped 1.5 per cent, to the European Union (15 countries) 6.6 per cent and to other Southeast Asian countries 8.2 per cent.
Exports to India dipped 3.9 per cent, to Hong Kong 6.5 per cent and to South Korea 4.3 per cent.
Exports of farm and agricultural-industrial products dropped 2.4 per cent last year, while those of industrial products declined 1.8 per cent.
Pimchanok said the trend in exports this year is rising in line with the improving global trade sentiment after Washington and Beijing reached agreement on Phase 1 of their trade agreement.
She also noted that the Commerce Ministry would be more aggressive in tapping overseas markets.
If Thailand can export $21.278 billion of goods per month, the year’s total will expand 3 per cent, based on the assumption that crude oil is priced at $65 per barrel and the baht stays between Bt30 and Bt32 against the dollar.