Thai exports rise 19% in September


BANGKOK, Oct 21 – Thai exports in September were valued at US$21.5 billion, a 19 per cent increase, compared to the same period last year, said Deputy Commerce Minister Siriwat Kachornprasart.

Exports increased in all key categories, particularly farm and agro-industrial products which rose by 51.9 per cent, while industrial products rose 9.7 per cent.

Exports in the first nine months of this year were valued at $179 billion, an increase of 25.5 per cent year-on-year.  Key export markets expanded with 11.2 per cent increase in matured markets and 15.5 and 14.6 per cent growth for European market and Japanese markets respectively.

However, exports to the US market grew by only 4.1 per cent while secondary markets improved to grow by 9.0 per cent.

Imports in September valued at $21 billion, a 41.9 per cent increase year-on-year. Rises could be seen in all categories such as a rise by 53.1 per cent for fuel imports, by 8.4 per cent for capital goods, by 20.5 per cent for consumer goods, and by 69.2 per cent for raw material and semi- finished goods. Imports from January to September were worth $174.2 billion, an increase of 30 per cent year-on-year.

Thailand enjoyed a trade surplus of $238 million in September and $5.28 billion in the first nine months of this year.

Mr Siriwat said the ministry will continue to assess damage from the current flooding but it is confident that export growth will reach target at 15 per cent.

The Department of Export Promotion has collected information from entrepreneurs and chambers of commerce on flood impacts and their need for help from the government since August.

Initially, they wanted the government to set up fund, to offer soft loan, to extend or waive social welfare collection, to relax regulations.  As the flood situation is not over yet, the assessment will continue before it will be forwarded to Deputy Prime Minister/Commerce Minister Kittirat Na Ranong.

At the same time, the government will need to restore confidence with trade partners as soon as possible. Export target in 2012 may be revised as large scale businesses have been affected by flood.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary for Commerce said the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives reported losses on about 15 million rai (some six million acres), mostly paddy fields, estimated at 13 million rai (5.2 million acres) or the loss of about 6-7 million tonnes of rice. However, rice exports are still good with increasing rice prices.

Thailand has so far exported 950,000 tonnes and expects to exceed 10 million tonnes in October above its target.