BANGKOK, Jan 31 – Thailand’s exports last year declined by 0.3 per cent from the preceding year – the country’s first such deficit in four years, a senior Commerce Ministry official said today.
Srirat Rastapana, permanent secretary for commerce, reported last year’s export value at US$228.5 billion and imports at US$250.7 billion, or a 0.29 per cent increase.
She said Thailand’s export deficit was less severe than those of Malaysia and Indonesia, both of which reported deficits at 8.96 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.
Vietnam, on the other hand, enjoyed a 16.47 per cent export growth
Exports in December enjoyed a slight increase to US$18.4 billion despite registering a deficit in the three preceding months.
She predicted Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 3-5 per cent this year, which is equivalent to the average projected GDP growth in China, India and Southeast Asian countries.
Regarding the downward trend of Thai baht this year due to the US adjusted measures on quantitative easing, Ms Srirat said Thailand’s medium-term export growth should be at 5 per cent this year.
In the best case, exports could enjoy a double-digit growth, and a deficit in the worst case, she said, adding that the prediction was purely based on economic factors without taking political issues into consideration.
Thailand’s overall economic landscape will not be positive if political conflicts remain unresolved, she said.