Cross-border trade down but transit trade with Singapore and China up

The cross-border trade dropped nearly 10 per cent in the first five months of 2020, the Foreign Trade Department said on Thursday.

The nationwide lockdown, which began in March, has resulted in the temporary closure of 69 crossing points out of 97 checkpoints. 

The total cross-border trade value, including transit trade, between January and May, has amounted to 534.36 billion baht, down 9.7 per cent year-on-year. 

The cross-border exports value was worth 305.73 billion baht, down 9 per cent.

The cross-border import value was worth 218.63 billion baht, down 10.7 per cent.

However, transit trade value with China expanded during the first five months of 2020 at 90.74 billion baht, up 15.74 per cent year-on-year.

Thailand’s border trade with Malaysia, the kingdom’s biggest trading partner out of the four neighboring countries, dropped by as much as 32.4 per cent year-on-year to 87.85 billion baht in the same period of time.

This was followed by Laos (77.17 billion baht, down 6.59 per cent), Myanmar (73.74 billion baht, down 10.96 per cent) and Cambodia (70.87 billion baht, up 5.2 per cent).   

China increased demand for Thai products such as fruits, rubber and computer during the first five months of 2020.

Most of the Thai products being exported to Malaysia were rubber, computer and circuit board; diesel oil, livestock products, mineral products and other fuels for Laos; non-alcoholic beverages, diesel oil and cement for Myanmar; and non-alcoholic beverages, livestock products and cars for Cambodia.

Transit trade with Singapore and Vietnam amounted to 36.1 billion baht and 24.7 billion baht, up 20.83 per cent and down 26.71 per cent respectively.

Singapore also increased demand in combustion engines, computers and circuit boards from Thailand during the first five months of 2020.

Keerati Rushchano, director-general of the department, said Thailand reopened 12 more checkpoints on July 7 which increased the number of open checkpoints to 28 out of 97 checkpoints.  

The government is looking to reopen more checkpoints to allow cross border and transit trading, he added. 

Thailand’s export value was valued at 7.63 trillion baht in 2019.

US (12.8 per cent), China (11.8 per cent), Japan (10 per cent), Vietnam (4.9 per cent), Hong Kong (4.8 per cent), Malaysia (4.2 per cent), Australia (4.1 per cent), Indonesia (3.7 per cent), Singapore (3.6 per cent) and India (3 per cent) were the top ten buyers.

The Bank of Thailand expects the country’s total export value to contract by 10 per cent in 2020, contributing to a recession of more than 8 per cent.

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