In a surprising turn of events, Thai exports have unexpectedly risen for the first time in 11 months in August despite weak global demand. According to the Ministry of Commerce, exports, which play a crucial role in Thailand’s economy, increased by 2.6% compared to the same period last year. This growth surpassed analysts’ predictions of a 4% decline. The ministry attributed this unexpected rise to improved signals from the global manufacturing sector, although they noted that these signals were still below normal levels. Additionally, the weakening of the Thai baht also contributed to the positive outcome.
The ministry remains optimistic about the future of Thai exports, particularly in the final quarter of 2023. Keerati Rushchano, the ministry’s permanent secretary, mentioned that year-end orders are expected to drive further growth during this period. He further emphasized the potential support provided by the weakening baht. However, the ministry forecasts that overall exports for the year may either remain flat or decline by 1%, following a 4.5% decline in exports from January to August.
Chairman of the Thai National Shippers’ Council, Chaichan Chareonsuk, expressed surprise at the August export figures but suggested that September’s shipments might decrease due to the high comparative base from the previous year. Specifically, he stated that annual exports for September are expected to be at least flat or slightly lower. Notably, there was a significant increase in exports of integrated circuits, with a growth rate of 40% compared to the previous year. Furthermore, exports of cars and parts rose by 24%, while rice export volumes experienced a decline of 8.3% on-year.
Despite the challenges posed by weak global demand, Thailand has witnessed promising growth in its exports. While uncertainties remain, such as the potential impact of the high comparative base on future shipments, the continued support from the weakening baht and year-end orders are expected to contribute to a positive outlook for the Thai export sector in the coming months.