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Despite first-half dip, year's export growth could hit 3.5% target

Exports are expected to grow by 7.29 per cent in the current second half of the year, after declining by 0.35 per cent in the first half, so Thailand could meet its full-year export-growth target of 3.5 per cent, according to the Commerce Ministry.

The ministry yesterday officially reported that first-half exports were valued at US$112.7 billion, a slight drop from the first six months of 2013. But June posted export growth for the first time in four months, by 3.9 per cent year on year to $19.84 billion.

"Average monthly export value in the second half of the year is expected to be $20.6 billion, so shipments could achieve the 3.5-per-cent growth target this year. With positive signs of an economic recovery in many markets, exports should be able to reach the goal," said Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department.

If the 3.5-per-cent target is achieved, full-year export value will reach $236.51 billion, compared with last year's $228.5 billion, which was down 0.32 per cent from 2012.

Shipments in the current third quarter are projected to grow by 6.34 per cent year on year, and 8.27 per cent in the fourth quarter. Nuntawan said exports should grow considerably in the second half because of stronger demand in many markets, mainly the European Union, the United States and China. Shipments in June expanded in many markets, except to Indonesia, Brunei, Australia and Latin America.

However, there is still some concern about appreciation of the baht, which could affect export expansion in the remaining months. The director-general said that if the baht does not appreciate beyond 30 per US dollar, the export-growth target should be attainable.

Shipments to the US grew significantly last month, by 11.2 per cent, as did those to the EU at 15.4 per cent. Export to Japan saw flat growth after shrinking in May.

Last month, export in all sectors grew strongly, except rubber and sugar. Agricultural and agri-industrial exports rose 2.6 per cent, and industrial goods 3.9 per cent, mainly electronics, computers, automobiles and electrical appliances.

Imports in June declined for the 11th consecutive month, by 14.03 per cent to $18.04 billion. The first six months saw a 14-per-cent decline to $112.46 billion. These figures left Thailand with a trade surplus of $1.79 billion in June, and 236.7 million in the first half of the year.

The Foreign Trade Department reported that oil imports last month were down by 45.59 per cent in volume year on year, and down 43.46 per cent in value to 3,110 million barrels worth $2.28 billion.

The lower imports were due to the stronger baht and reduced demand by oil refineries.

Oil imports in the first half totalled 23,869 million barrels, a decline of 13.12 per cent, while import value dropped 12.59 per cent to $17.71 billion.

Gold imports last month plunged 38.77 per cent in volume and 44.28 per cent in value to 11.46 tonnes worth $455.4 million. Gold import in the first half dropped 68.61 per cent in volume to 65.08 tonnes, while value was down 72.4 per cent to $2.65 billion.


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