Thai exports grow 17.2 per cent in 2011

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BANGKOK, Jan 20 – Thai exports grew 17.2 per cent in 2011 compared to the previous year, or some US$228 billion, while the value of exports in December reached over US$17 billion, or a 2-per cent decrease year-on-year, Permanent Secretary for Commerce Yanyong Phuangrach announced on Friday.

The over 17-per cent growth was higher than the previously targeted 15 per cent by the ministry, while the drop in value last month was due to the recent flood crisis. The drop was lower than that in November, however, which means that the Thai industrial sector has recovered quickly, Mr Yanyong said.

Merchandise with a lower percentage on exports in December included main industrial goods at a reduced rate of 10.2 per cent, electronics of 26.9, motor vehicles, equipment and auto parts of 20, and electric appliances of 12.9 per cent respectively.

The continuous decline of Thai exports amounted to 7.7 per cent in the major markets of the United States, Europe and Japan.

Meanwhile, Thai imports in 2011 grew 24.9 per cent year-on-year, valued at US$228 billion.

Thai imports last month stood at US$19.1 billion, a 19-per cent increase year-on-year for all types of merchandise such as fuel at 22 per cent, capital goods at 14.5, consumer goods at 21.7, and raw material and semi-finished goods at 20.6 per cent respectively. In December alone, Thailand recorded a trade deficit at US$2.1 billion.

However, the country in 2011 recorded a trade surplus at US$334 million.

The Department of International Trade Promotion targeted the growth of Thai exports this year at 15 per cent, or around US$263 billion in value.

The rise of Thai exports in 2012 will depend on the fluctuation of the world economy and of fuel prices. The balance of trade in Q1 will still be negative but not so seriously, as the industrial sector has shown signs of quick recovery, the permanent secretary for commerce said.

Positive factors will come from the prices of agricultural goods in the world market, which shows a positive tendency, the government’s measures to boost the economy and rehabilitation measures for sectors affected by the recent flood.