Thai exports dive to 27-month low in November

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BANGKOK, Dec 20 – Thai exports in November dipped to their lowest record in 27 months, falling by 12.4 per cent year-on-year to about US$15.4 billion in value due to the country’s worst flooding in decades, according to Deputy Commerce Minister Siriwat Kajornprasart.

Resulting from the recent severe flood, exports of industrial goods dropped by 26.7 per cent, electronic goods by 47.4 per cent, vehicles and parts by 54.7 per cent and electrical appliances by 54.7 per cent, Mr Siriwat told a press briefing on Tuesday.

However, the overall exports for this year’s first 11 months were valued at $211.8 billion, up 19 per cent, compared to the same period last year.

The deputy minister said that exports to mature markets continued falling by 16.9 per cent while those to European and the United States markets declined by 28.8 and 13.9 per cent respectively. He explained that exports to emerging markets shrank by 19.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, imports in November were valued at $16.8 billion, decreasing 2.4 per cent year-on-year.

Imports of fuel fell by 6.1 per cent, capital goods by 2.9 per cent and raw materials and semi- finished goods by 2.7 per cent, in contrast to imports of consumer goods which rose by 8.6 per cent.

Imports from January through November were worth $209.3 billion, a 25.5 per cent growth.

As for the first 11 months of this year, Thailand enjoyed a trade surplus of $2.4 billion.

Mr Siriwat expressed confidence that the 2011 overall exports are likely expand by 15 per cent as earlier targeted. However, he projected that exports in December were likely to shrink by 10 per cent, adding that the decline in Thai exports will last through the first quarter of 2012 owing to post-flood impacts, the fragile global economy and the fluctuation of the currency exchange.

As for 2012, the Department of Export Promotion targeted next year’s exports to expand by 15 per cent, the deputy minister said. However, the targeted export growth may be revised as relevant officials have to evaluate the situation in the first quarter of next year.