Despite indications that the global economy would continue to recover in October 2020, Thai export figures for the month plunged by 6.71 percent YoY to USD 19.37 billion. Regardless, upon exclusion of products related to oil, gold and munitions, exports fell by 4.89 percent YoY, only a slight contraction from September's reading. All in all, Thai exports over the first 10 months of 2020 shrank by 7.26 percent YoY. Agricultural exports slipped back into contraction at 8.8 percent YoY, after seeing 3.1 percent growth YoY in September – with many agricultural products, particularly granulated sugar, seeing diminished demand. Meanwhile, a majority of industrial exports have improved, especially goods that are related to working from home – for instance, computers and components, and air conditioners, along with personal protective equipment (PPE) against viral transmission, like rubber products. Nonetheless, overall exports still contracted by 4.7 percent YoY.
Classified by market, exports to China had reverted to a 6.1 percent contraction YoY, from the previous reading of 6.9 percent growth YoY in September. However, exports to other major markets were trending positive in line with the direction of the Purchasing Managers' Index, which showed accelerated expansion, with US-bound exports growing for the fifth consecutive month.
Going forward, Thai exports are set to encounter uncertainty from the potential global economic recovery and the strengthening Baht. Hence, KResearch maintains its projection that Thai exports in 2020 will contract by 7.0 percent.