Thailand Exports Drop 4.5% in 1Q23; Full-Year Growth Expected at 1%

Thailand’s exports contracted by 4.5% in the first quarter, far better than the expected 10% drop, with the sector expected to begin recovering in the second second half of the year, the Thai National Shippers’ Council said on Tuesday.

The first three months of 2023 saw a decline of 4.5% in Thai exports to US$70,280 million from the same period in 2022, despite continuing prosperity in the vehicle, hard disk, and jewelry sectors. 

TNSC chairman Chaichan Charoensuk stated that the outcome was better than the previous forecast of a 10% decline; however, due to global uncertainties and rising costs of production, the group has lowered its full-year projection of export growth to 0.0-1.0%, compared to the previous forecast of 1.0-2.0% expansion.

“Reducing export growth projections to 0.0-0.1% was due to numerous risk factors, such as the sluggish economy in the United States, high levels of uncertainty in China’s recovery, the banking crisis, and the prolonged wars in Russia and Ukraine. Exports cannot reach 2% without an improvement in the world economy, but the National Shippers’ Council is optimistic that exports this year are unlikely to be negative. Certainly not lower than last year,” Chaichan stated.

Exports are expected to be -2.0-3.0% in 2Q23 before returning to growth in the third quarter, said the Thai National Shippers’ Council.