Thai exports slide 2.76% in value on year in February
EXPORTS in February decreased in value year on year for the first time in four months, a decline attributed to the high value of gold and aerospace exports in February 2016, according to the Commerce Ministry.
The ministry reported that export value last month declined by 2.76 per cent to US$18.47 billion (about Bt640 billion).
However, if gold and aerospace were excluded, categories in which exports were high during the same month last year, value would have expanded by 8.5 per cent on strong growth in the agricultural-products segment.
Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said despite the February decline, there was still good reason to believe that export value this year would increase by at least 3 per cent.
Export value in the first two months was up by 2.49 per cent in terms of US dollars to $35.56 billion, while in baht terms it rose by 0.77 per cent to Bt1.25 trillion.
Pimchanok said the prospects for strong export growth this year were supported by rising imports of raw materials and capital goods, which reflected higher demand for supplies by the manufacturing sector.
Moreover, as the US Federal Reserve has just raised its policy interest rate, the baht is likely to weaken, which would benefit the Thai export sector, she added.
The ministry reported that February imports had risen by a strong 20.36 per cent to $16.85 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $1.6 billion last month.
In the first two months, import value expanded by 12.39 per cent to $33.13 billion, for a trade surplus of $2.43 billion.
In February, higher import value was attributed largely to capital goods, rose by 23.29 per cent, while raw-material imports increased by 20.86 per cent.
Exports of agricultural and agro-industrial products were up by 13.9 per cent, while those of industrial goods declined by 5.9 per cent.
With a positive outlook for the global economy, the ministry remains upbeat that full-year exports could grow by 5 per cent to $226.09 billion, its working target.
This expectation is based on the average global oil price increasing to $50-60 per barrel this year, while the baht will average 35.5-37.5 per US dollar.
However, some concerning factors remain that could affect global and Thai trade this year, including new US trade policies, political change in some European Union countries, and the risks arising from the United Kingdom preparing to leave the EU. Those factors could result in unstable exchange rates and shake up global trading and investment.