Thailand: Worst export figures in a decade

June exports were down 23.17% year on year, the lowest since July 2009, but the Commerce Ministry expects the situation to improve later this year.

Pimchanok Vonkorporn, director-general of trade policy and strategy, said on Friday that June exports were worth US$16.4 billion and imports came in at $14.8 billion, down 18.1%.

In the first half of this year, exports fell 7.1% to $114.3 billion and imports 12.6% to $103.6 billion. The country posted a trade surplus of $1.6 billion in June and $10.7 billion in the first half of 2020.

Last month agricultural and agro-industrial products decreased 9.9%. Some products still expanded favourably, including frozen and processed fruits and vegetables (+8.8%), canned and processed seafood (+21.4%), chilled, frozen, and processed chicken (+4.6%) and pet food (+21.2%).

Meanwhile, exports fell by 25.6% for rice, 55.6% for rubber, 5.8% for cassava products and 57.1% for sugar.

In the first half of 2020, exports of agricultural and agro-industrial products dropped by 2.1%.

Last month industrial exports decreased by 25.1%. Precious stones and jewellery (excluding gold) plunged by 70.1%, automobiles and parts by 43.2%, oil-related products 18.0% and gold 86.0%.

Shipments of semi-conductors, transistors and diodes rose by 44.9%, computers and parts by 4.6%, rubber products 10.5% and furniture and parts 6.8%. In the first half of 2020, exports of industrial products declined by 7.5%.

In June, exports to China grew for the third consecutive month and exports to the United States expanded favourably. However, exports to other destinations dropped.

Ms Pimchanok said she believed exports would bottom out later this year because markets were picking up slowly. She anticipated that exports would be down 8-9% for 2020.