Thai exports return to growth in April, beat forecast

In a positive turn of events, Thailand’s exports saw growth in April, surpassing analysts’ expectations. According to the commerce ministry, shipments are expected to continue to increase slightly in the second quarter. April saw a 6.8% rise in customs-based exports compared to the same period last year, exceeding the forecast of a 0.35% increase. This growth comes after a decline of 10.9% in March. However, exports dropped 6.7% from March. The commerce ministry stated that the demand for industrial goods, in line with the global economic recovery and easing inflation, will continue to drive export growth. Additionally, volatile weather conditions are expected to push up agricultural prices, contributing to the positive outlook for exports this year.
According to Poonpong Naiyanapakorn, head of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office at the Ministry, we anticipate a 0.8% to 1% increase in exports during the second quarter. However, Chaichan Chareonsuk, chairman of the Thai National Shippers’ Council, emphasized that geopolitical problems present significant risks to the export momentum.

In the first four months of 2024, exports grew by 1.4% compared to the same period last year. The Ministry maintains its export growth target of 1% to 2% for this year, following a 1% decline in 2023.

In April, the export of industrial goods recorded a year-on-year increase of 9.2%. Additionally, rice exports experienced a significant surge, with volumes jumping by 64.2% to 933,559 metric tons, and value increasing by 92%.

As the world’s second-largest exporter of rice after India, Thailand expects to surpass its target of exporting 7.5 million metric tons of rice this year.

In April, shipments to the United States witnessed a year-on-year rise of 26.1%. However, exports to China declined by 7.8%, and exports to Japan fell by 4.1%.
In April, imports experienced a notable growth of 8.3% compared to the previous year, surpassing the forecasted increase of 5.05% according to a poll conducted. Consequently, this resulted in a trade deficit of $1.64 billion for the month, slightly lower than the predicted deficit of $1.7 billion.