Thailand March Export Fall Less Than Expected, Value at a Year High

April 26, 2023, 04.32 PM | Source: Reuters
Thailand March Export Fall Less Than Expected, Value at a Year High

ILUSTRASI. A tractor drives past at a rice drying yard at an export rice plant in the central Chainat province in Thailand.

TRADE BALANCE - BANGKOK. Thailand's customs-based exports contracted less than expected in March as some key shipments improved, and the commerce ministry said on Wednesday it was expecting some export growth for the full year.

Exports, a key driver of growth, dropped 4.2% in March from a year earlier, far better than the forecast for a year-on-year drop of 14% for March in a Reuters poll.

March's export value of $27.65 billion was the highest in a year, the ministry said.

"Despite the export fall, it's still considered very good," Poonpong Naiyanapakorn, head of the ministry's Trade Policy and Strategy Office, told a news conference.

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The ministry is maintaining its target of 1%-2% export growth this year, he added.

Thailand posted a trade surplus for the first time in a year of $2.72 billion in March, versus a forecast deficit of $1.07 billion, as imports showed a year-on-year 7.1% drop.

A baht exchange rate of 34 to 35 per dollar was favourable for exports, said Chaichan Chareonsuk, head of the Thai National Shippers' Council.

Separately, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told reporters that exports should pick up around the middle of the year, helped by shipments of farm products and cars.

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Exports of agricultural and agro-industrial products rose 4.2% in March from a year earlier, while shipments of passenger cars rose 8.7% but hard disk drives dropped 13.8%.

March's exports to the United States rose 1.7% year-on-year while those to Japan rose 10.2%. Exports to China dropped 3.9% from a year earlier.

In January-March, exports declined 4.5% from a year earlier, with imports down 0.5% and a trade deficit at $3 billion.

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