Exports record 11-year-high jump on global economic recovery, amid lockdown risks

Thailand’s exports in June jumped by 44 per cent from a year earlier, the fastest rise in 11 years and beating expectations, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday. However, they warned that lockdown measures could halt the manufacturing sector.

The figure beat a market consensus of a 39-per-cent jump. In May, the country saw an increase of 41.59 per cent year-on-year in its exports. Both months reflect a depressed baseline in May and June 2020, when exports dropped significantly following the first wave of the pandemic.

The value of exports in June was USD 23.7 billion, while imports grew by 53.75 per cent to USD 22.75 billion, resulting in a 945.06 USD million trade surplus for the month.

“The economy of key trade partners has recovered, fueling foreign demand in the wake of coronavirus infections,” said Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.

The jump was driven by shipments of agricultural products, such as tropical fruits, jewellery, cars and auto parts, machinery and chemicals, according to the minister.

In light of a surge in daily cases and a widening lockdown restriction, Jurin emphasized that all stakeholders must work together to meet the manufacturers’ shipment target, since some plants were shut down because of Covid-19 clusters.

“Ordering the collective shutdown of all factories is unnecessary,” Jurin added. Additionally, he advocated for a faster vaccination process in the industrial sector.

Maria Lapiz, head of institutional research at Maybank Kim Eng Securities, noted that going forward “exports can be hampered by the potential disruption in production and slower movement of goods due to the expanded stringent mobility measures.”

Thailand’s exports grew 15.53 per cent in the first six months of 2021, while imports rose 26.15 per cent, resulting in a USD 2.44 billion trade surplus.

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