Thai Exports Climb First Time in Five Months on Boost From Cars

Thailand exports rose for the first time in five months in August following a surge in vehicle shipments, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

Key Points

  • Exports gained 6.5 percent in August from a year earlier, compared to a median estimate of a 1 percent contraction in a Bloomberg survey of 14 economists
  • Automobiles, which make up 12 percent of total exports, climbed 40.4 percent in August from a year earlier
  • Industrial exports rose 9 percent, led by auto, steel and semiconductor sectors
  • Thailand posted a trade surplus of $2.13 billion in August, compared with $1.2 billion in the previous month

Big Picture

Thailand is Southeast Asia’s vehicle production hub, producing about 2 million automobiles in the past 12 months, representing about half the regional total, according to research from Bloomberg Intelligence. That’s helping to support an economy that’s been hit by sliding global demand and weak consumer sentiment. Part of the surge in vehicle exports last month was due to $370 million of shipments that the customs department failed to book in July because of technical issues, Deputy Commerce Minister Suvit Maesincee.

Other Details

  • Ministry of Commerce sees exports likely posting zero expansion to a contraction of 1 percent
  • Exports were up 14.9 percent to the U.S., 11.8 percent to the European Union, 5.7 percent to Japan and 4.4 percent to Japan
  • Deputy director general for Ministry of Commerce’s trade policy and strategy office told reporters the “export situation is expected to improve for the rest of this year as exports of oil-related products and commodity products are likely to get better in line with recovering oil prices.”

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