Thai exports up less than expected in January

Thailand’s exports grew 0.35 per cent year-on-year to USD 19.7 billion in January, below the market estimate of 2.7 per cent, officials said Tuesday.

Imports in January were USD 19.90 billion, down 5.24 per cent from the same month in 2020, contributing to a trade deficit of USD 202.4 million, said Phusit Rattanakul Sereeruengsit, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office at the Commerce Ministry.

Phusit said exports expanded for a second consecutive month thanks to recovery in global trade and national economies especially in Asia, including optimism on vaccination progress.

The January growth was less than some other countries in the region, namely Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and India, according to Kasikorn Research Center.

In December, Thailand posted USD 20.08 million of exports value, increasing 4.71 per cent year-on-year despite the recent outbreak of Covid-19.

Thailand saw an uptick on exports in January of products related to agriculture, working from home trend and the pandemic, he added. Rubber gloves gained 200 per cent year-on-year, up 14 months in a row, based on high demand from many countries. Gold exports plunged by 90 per cent year-on-year.

The national exports could face pressure from the new Covid-19 outbreak coupled with new variants, a shortage of shipping containers, and the strengthening of baht, warned Phusit. The trade office estimated a 4-per-cent of exports growth in 2021 overall, he said.

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