Thailand April exports post 2nd-month y/y drop on weak global demand

23, May. 2019

20190523_0001.jpg

BANGKOK, NNA - Thai exports in April fell from year-earlier levels for the second consecutive month amid the U.S.-China trade dispute, Commerce Ministry data released Wednesday showed.

The recent uptick in exports to the U.S. market was not strong enough to offset falling shipments to China.

Key points:

―― Overall exports slipped 2.6 percent in April from a year earlier to $18.55 billion, after falling 4.9 percent in March. In the first four months of the year, Thai exports dropped 1.9 percent to $80.54 billion. The director-general of the ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office, Pimchanok Vonkorpon, said the decline was due to slower global growth.

―― Shipments to the United States rose 4.7 percent to $2.14 billion after falling 1.4 percent in the previous month. Exports to the U.S. grew gradually last year and showed a more pronounced uptick in January-March from the previous quarter.

―― By contrast, exports to China dipped 5 percent to $2.44 billion for the sixth straight month of y/y drops, after decreasing 9 percent in March. Exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations edged up 0.9 percent to $4.93 billion following a 9-percent drop.

―― By product, shipments of rice tumbled 20.2 percent to $365 million, while exports of rubber fell 32.1 percent to $323 million. Exports of electronic products and parts fell 8.2 percent to $2.56 billion and vehicles and auto parts dropped 2.4 percent to $2.48 billion.

―― Imports dipped 0.7 percent to $20.01 billion from a year earlier, marking the third consecutive month of declines. In January-April, imports slipped 1.1 percent to $79.99 billion.

Takeaway:

―― Despite recent weaker data, the Commerce Ministry still sees Thai exports growing 8 percent this year.

――Asked whether the U.S. move to ban China’s Huawei Technologies Co. will impact Thailand’s exports, Pimchanok said a direct negative impact could be felt in the short term but would be limited because there are only a few Thai producers in Huawei’s supply chain.