BANGKOK — Thai exports fell for the 10th straight month in July, and at a much faster pace than expected as global demand remains sluggish, and the Commerce Ministry said on Friday it would be difficult to meet its target. export growth for the year as a whole.
Customs exports, a key driver of Thailand’s economy, contracted 6.2 percent in July from a year earlier, compared to an analyst-estimated average decline of 0.75 percent in a Reuters survey. . Exports fell 10.8 percent from June.
“A sharp decline in global commodity prices, resulting from the conflicts in Ukraine the previous year, led to a significant slowdown in the value of the corresponding exports,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that China was also facing on a slow recovery.
The drop in Thai exports, however, was less than that of many other countries, Keerati Rushchano, the ministry’s permanent secretary, told a press briefing.
“Despite the decline in exports in July, overall in terms of value, we’re not bad,” he said, citing last year’s high baseline for the decline.
July’s export value was $22.14 billion, down from $23.6 billion in the same month in 2022.
The ministry will try to meet its export growth target of 1 to 2 percent this year, Keerati said, but stressed that it would be difficult.
Exports in the first seven months of 2023, which contracted 5.5% year on year, were satisfactory, he said.
“In the remaining four to five months, we will do our utmost to ensure that the numbers are not too ugly,” he added.
Chaichan Chareonsuk, chairman of Thailand’s National Shippers Council, said exports would increase in the fourth quarter of 2023, due to last year’s weak base and increased car shipments.
“But if the economies of trading partners do not recover, exports could fall by 1 percent this year,” he said at the press briefing.
In July, computer and parts exports fell 24 percent year on year, while auto exports jumped nearly 30 percent. Rice export volumes increased by 4.5 percent year on year to 604,310 tonnes.
Exports to the United States rose 0.9% year on year in July, while those to Southeast Asian countries fell 21.8%. Exports to Japan fell by 1.7 percent and shipments to China by 3.2 percent.
In July, Thailand recorded a trade deficit of $1.98 billion, higher than the expected deficit of $1.3 billion, with imports down 11.1% year on year.
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