BANGKOK, Nov 22 –Thai exports in October were valued at US$17.19 billion, only 0.3 per cent growth, the lowest reported in two years, said Deputy Commerce Minister Siriwat Kajornprasart, crediting the decline to the recent severe flood.
Exports of industrial goods dropped by 11.8 per cent, electronic goods by 22.1 per cent, autos by 15.3 per cent, and electrical appliances by 14.5 per cent.
Exports in main mature markets fell four per cent, while exports to the European market dropped 11.1 per cent, and the US by 5.5 per cent. In contrast, exports to Japan expanded by 4.2 per cent.
Imports in October were worth US$18.2 billion, a 21.5 per cent growth, mostly fuel, capital goods and raw materials. Thailand posted a trade deficit of US$1 billion.
Meanwhile, Thai exports in the first ten months of this year were valued at $196 billion, a 22.8 per cent growth and imports expanded 29 per cent. Thailand enjoyed a trade surplus of $4.2 billion from January through October.
The commerce ministry said that the flood is likely to cause Thai exports to shrink by 15 per cent in the last quarter and the trend will continue into the first quarter of 2012, but exports for the whole of 2011 are forecast to grow 15 per cent.
The commerce ministry invited trade and export associations from all industrial groups to meet to hear the ministry’s assistance measures for flood-affected entrepreneurs after cabinet approval. The assistance included monetary, tax and labour measures and offering soft loans.
Commercial banks have various assistance measures for entrepreneurs.
The ministry will also help revive businesses and exports and will hold a fair to help small-scale and medium enterprises (SMEs) on December 1-2.
Exporters and trade association conceded they are concerned about access to soft loans and future flood prevention measures.