Thai Exports Contract More than Expected in January

Thailand’s exports contracted more than expected in January, said the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday, squeezed by weak demand across the globe and lower consumer spending as a result of rising inflation.

Exports fell 4.5% in January, the fourth consecutive month of contraction, compared to a 1.4% year-on-year drop predicted in a Reuters poll. However, the decline was smaller than the 14.6% drop in December.

The overall export value was US$20,249 million (equal to THB700,127 million), according to the Commerce Ministry.

Agriculture (-2.2%), agro-industry (-3.3%), and manufacturing (including electronics) (-5.4%) all contributed to a lower-than-expected export record. Sinit Lertkrai, deputy minister of commerce, told reporters that while overall exports were down, auto exports were up, as well as rice exports.

Following a 5.5% increase in 2022, the Ministry of Commerce has revised its export growth forecast for this year to 1% – 2%. But the Bank of Thailand warned last week that exports would fall this year.