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Trade Turmoil: Thailand’s Export Crisis Deepens – Numbers Plummet, Economy on the Brink!

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Kirati Ratchano, the Permanent Secretary at the Commerce Ministry, recently shared details about Thailand’s trade scenario at a press conference. According to him, the country witnessed a decrease in the import of goods, totaling $23.195 billion (797.37 billion baht), a 7.3% YoY decline.

In April, Thailand recorded a trade deficit of $1.471 billion (59.584 billion baht). Between January and April, the nation had export revenues of $92.002 billion (3.11 trillion baht), which marked a 5.2% YoY decrease. Meanwhile, the value of imports reached $96.519 billion (3.305 trillion baht), resulting in a 2.2% drop. Consequently, during the first four months, Thailand experienced a trade deficit of $4.516 billion (194.786 billion baht).

The Permanent Secretary also highlighted that the export value of industrial goods in April dropped by 11.2%, marking the seventh consecutive month of contraction. Products experiencing a significant drop in export values included oil-related products, computers and components, machinery and parts, jewelry, and steel. However, some products saw an increase in export values, such as automobiles and their components, telecommunications devices, phones and parts, transistors, and travel gear.

On a more positive note, Kirati mentioned that exports of agricultural and agro-industrial products witnessed an 8.2% increase, rising for the third month in a row. Major product exports in this category featured fresh fruits, frozen and dried fruits, rice, beverages, frozen chicken, and canned vegetables. On the other hand, products with decreased export values included tapioca, rubber, canned and processed seafood, and animal feed.

Kirati pointed out that export values to major markets primarily contracted in April. Exports to the US fell by 9.6%, 8.1% to Japan, 17.7% to ASEAN, and 8.2% to the European Union on a YoY basis. In contrast, the value of exports to China experienced a 23% expansion.

The Permanent Secretary predicts that the export trend will continue to contract in the coming month, as trading partner nations still possess stockpiles of goods. However, he expects exports to rebound in the second half of the year.

Kirati attributes the export contraction to the global economic slowdown and high inflation rates in various countries. Thailand has been facing export contraction since October of last year, with figures as follows: -4.4% in October, -6% in November, -14.6% in December, -4.5% in January, -4.7% in February, and -4.2% in March.

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