Thai exports tumbled 8% in April, worse than the 1.25% expected, according to data from the Commerce Ministry.
For the first four months, shipments shrank 1.24% from the same period last year to $69.4 billion, while imports totaled $60.5 billion, a fall of 12.7%.
The decline puts an end to a two-month growth streak amid sluggish global demand.
Major market shipments were down : Japan, down 10.3%; the United States, down 6.7%; and Europe, down 1.1%. For the month of April, electronic exports were down 5.3%, industrial goods exports were down 7.8% and agricultural products exports were down 2.8%.
Exports account for nearly two-thirds of Thailand’s economic output, and have been contracting for three straight years.
The Thai central bank predicts that exports will fall 2% in 2016 but K-Research forecasts flat growth for this year’s exports based on a 3% GDP growth forecast for Thailand.
Declining oil and commodity prices were partly to blame, says the Commerce Ministry, but an uncertain global economy also weighed on exports.
Shipments were up 1.3% in March and 10.27% in February. These gains were driven by unusual items, including gold shipments and military helicopters.
Major market shipments were down across the board, including Southeast Asian nations and China, down 4.8% and 5.9% respectively.
Domestic demand, another major driver of economic growth in the country, has also been slower than usual, due to raising level of household debt.
Imports also down 15%
In the month of April, imports plummeted 14.92% compared to the previous year. Economists were projecting a 7.65% decline. The import slump last month will likely continue into May.
Imports typically include parts, which are assembled into finished goods and then shipped out.
How the COVID-19 situation may affect Thailand’s export sector
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