Exports expanded by 7.5% in August, representing 18 months of consecutive expansion, the commerce ministry said.
“We will definitely surpass our target of 4% for this year,” said Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.
Thailand’s exports expanded by 7.5% year-on-year to US$23.63 billion in August, in line with the market expectation of 7.3-7.7%.
For the first 8 months of 2022, exports expanded by 11% year-on-year, reaching $196.45 billion.
Imports expanded by 21.3% year-on-year to $27.85 billion in August, contributing to a trade deficit of $4.22 billion for August.
For the first 8 months of 2022, imports expanded by 21.4% to $210.58 billion, contributing to a trade deficit of $14.13 billion for the same period of time.
Jurin said the expansion in August was mainly thanks to the export of frozen and processed food such as seafood, chicken products, and pet food because of the high global demand while trading partners are recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The exports of automobiles and their parts, computers and electrical appliances were also being supported by weak Baht. The currency was trading around 37.8 Baht per greenback on Monday afternoon compared to around 33.3 Baht at the beginning of the year.
“The weak Bahtg might affect the imports of natural gas and refined oil and it also helping the exports of some products,” Jurin said.
The export of agro-industrial products expanded by 4.6% year-on-year in August, representing 21 months of consecutive expansion.
The export of rice expanded by 15.3% year-on-year, representing 7 months of consecutive expansion and the top destinations with the largest growth were Iraq, the United States, Canada, Malaysia and the Netherlands.
The export of sugar expanded by 173.5% year-on-year, representing 13 months of consecutive expansion the top destinations with the largest growth were Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Taiwan.
The export of frozen and processed seafood expanded by 18.5% year-on-year, representing 7 months of consecutive expansion and the top destinations with the largest growth were US, Japan, Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
The export of ice cream expanded by 71.2% year-on-year representing 13 months of consecutive expansion and the top destinations with the largest growth were Malaysia, US, South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The export of agriculture products contracted by 10.3% year-on-year in August, following the drop in the exports of rubber from less demand in China, Malaysia, Japan, US and Brazil.
The exports of fresh, frozen and dried fruits dropped by 63.8 year-on-year from less than in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, US and Hong Kong.
However, the export of agriculture products still expanded by 15.2% year-on-year during the first 8 months of 2022.
Industrial products expanded by 9.2% year-on-year in August, representing 18 months of consecutive expansion, thanks to the exports of automobiles and their parts which expanded 22.5%, the first expansion in 8 months with the strongest growth in Australia, the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam markets.
Nevertheless, the export expansion in the remaining 4 months of 2022 could still be hampered by uncertainty within the global economic recovery with high inflation in many countries.
The war between Russia and Ukraine which already led to energy shortage in Europe and the slowdown of the Chinese economy because of their real estate crisis and Beijing’s Zero-Covid policy are also risks that could derail Thailand’s export potential.
Jurin said the ministry is looking for new markets in 105 cities from 36 countries such as the increase in the exports of chicken and construction products to Saudi Arabia and pet food to Europe.
He said the demand for food will continue to grow and their prices are expected to continue to be high throughout the rest of this year while the US’s ban on tech products from China will continue to support Thailand’s exports of automotive and electrical products.
At the same time, the continuous hike of interest rates in the US will continue to weaken the Baht for the time being.