World Economy

Exports Boost Thai Economy

Exports Boost Thai EconomyExports Boost Thai Economy

Thailand’s customs-cleared exports surged last month, thanks to higher demand from major markets, an encouraging sign for the trade-dependent country whose economy has been struggling to regain traction.

Exports jumped 10.2% from a year earlier, Commerce Ministry data showed Monday, compared with the median forecast for a 1.55 % rise in a Reuters poll and October’s 4.2% drop. The percentage gain was the highest for a month since February.

Higher global oil prices helped lift demand for Thai oil-related goods last month and overall shipments should increase this year, a ministry official told a briefing.

Imports last month increased 3% from a year earlier. Economists had expected a fall of 1.05% after a rise of 6.5% in October.

The November figures produced a trade surplus of $1.54 billion, triple the expectation for a $500 million. October produced a $250 million surplus.

Many materials that Thailand imports are assembled into completed goods and shipped out again. Thai exports, worth about two-thirds of the country’s gross domestic product, have contracted the past three years, frustrating the military government’s efforts to revive the economy.

The Bank of Thailand last week predicted exports would fall 0.6% this year and be flat next year.

It maintained its GDP growth forecast at 3.2% for both this year and next. The economy expanded 2.8% last year.

Amid the murky global economic backdrop and the country’s underperforming economy, the Prayut Chan-o-cha government is pressing on with its three-pronged stimulus strategy aimed at not only shoring up domestic demand and economic growth, but also delivering sustainable growth in the long run. Thailand is experiencing the perfect storm of economic headaches.

Public investment and tourism are the only major bright spots.

Since Gen Prayut took the helm in 2014, the government has never narrowed budget deficits; state spending has been the mainstay of economic growth in recent years. Other economic engines, meanwhile, have remained sluggish.


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