By THE NATION
Thailand’s imports posted at $20.836 billion in May, down 0.6 per cent compared to the same month of 2018. Meanwhile, the import in baht value reached Bt666.810 billion, up 1.2 per cent compared to the same month of last year.
Thus, Thailand’s trade surplus for May was $182 million, while in baht value, the country posted a trade deficit of Bt3.163 billion.
For the first five months of the year, Thailand’s export reached $101.561 billion, down 2.7 per cent compared to 2017. Meanwhile, export in value of baht reached Bt3.204 trillion in the first five months, down 2.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s imports reached $100.830 billion in the first five months of this year, down 1.0 per cent compared to the same period last year, or at Bt3.229 trillion in baht value, down 0.5 per cent compared to the same period last year. Thailand as a result posted a trade surplus at $731 million in US dollars, but a deficit of Bt24.677 billion in baht value.
TNSC projected that Thailand’s 2019 exporta will range from a decline of 1 per cent to remaining flat, based on the assumption of a baht value at Bt33 against one US dollar (the currency exchange on June 30 was at Bt30.765 against one US dollar, and moving between Bt31.37 and Bt30.78 against one US dollar during the day).
Major positive factors for Thailand’s export are the country’s chairmanship of Asean this year and its strong support for completion this year of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The total trade among RCEP members is worth more than $10 trillion or 29 per cent of the global trade value. Thailand’s exports are still expanding very well in many markets, especially with India and rising markets including Canada, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, particularly in agricultural products, foods, beverages and cosmetic products.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s ruling against China’s use of tariff-rate quotas for rice, wheat and corn, as accused by the US, will create an opportunity for Thailand to export more rice to China, according to the Shippers’ Council. The Commerce Ministry also has a policy to help those manufacturers experiencing negative impacts from the Free Trade Area (FTA) agreements with a FTA Fund set to raise their competitiveness.
Meanwhile, the risk factors include the high fluctuation of the baht, the trade war between the US and China, as well as the fluctuation of oil prices raised by the US ban against Iran.