Thailand: Aug exports close to forecast, Chinese market slump

Exports rose slightly less than expected in August as global demand for food products increased, but oil-related shipments fell and exports to China slumped, the Commerce Ministry said on Monday.

Exports, a key driver of Thai growth, increased 7.5% in August from a year earlier, versus a forecast 7.7% rise in a Reuters poll, and against July’s 4.3% increase.

In January-August, exports rose 11.0% from the same period a year ago, already exceeding the ministry’s full-year target of 4% to 5% growth, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told a news conference.

“Exports should still be good for the rest of the year and remain a key driver of the economy as tourism has just started to recovery,” he said.

Global demand for food is expected to increase later this year and food prices to remain high, but global risks, including high inflation and China’s slowdown, may put downward pressure on the world economy, the ministry said in a statement.

In August, exports of farm and agro-industrial products rose 4.6% year on year, but oil-related goods fell 11.4%, it said.

Among key export markets, shipments to the United States rose 16.3% from a year earlier and those to Southeast Asia increased 19.1%. Shipments to China plunged 20.1% year on year

August imports surged 21.3% from a year earlier, more than forecast, with a trade deficit of $4.2 billion in the month, the ministry said.