The total value of Thai exports came in at USD246,244.5 million, shrinking 2.65 percent YoY in 2019 while the total import value reached USD236,639.9 million, contracting 4.66 percent YoY. As a result, Thailand enjoyed a trade surplus for the fifth consecutive year of USD9,604.6 million.
- The value of Thai exports reached USD19,154 million, shrinking 1.3 percent YoY in December 2019. Although the value of December shipments contracted for the fifth consecutive month, it was at a slower pace compared to that reported for November 2019. The steepest contraction was seen in rice, cassava products, automobiles, auto accessories and parts, plus oil-related products, such as chemicals and plastic pellets.
- Noticeably, the value of Thai shipments to China and the US resumed substantial growth in December 2019 at 7.3 percent YoY and 15.6 percent YoY, thanks probably to short-term factors. Thai exports to the US were driven chiefly by a low base of 2018 shipments, including computers, related equipment and parts because of the slowdown in the global electronics industry amid a transition to 5G. Thai shipments to China were supported by certain front-loading import activities ahead of the Chinese New Year festival in January 2020. In addition, Thai fresh, chilled, frozen and dried fruit exports to China soared 110.01 percent YoY, led by longans and durians.
We at KResearch maintain our growth projection for the 2020 export value at (-)1.0 percent, representing a contraction for the two consecutive year, due primarily to the slowing global economy and strong Baht against currencies of our trade rivals. Although the US-China trade war has eased after the two countries reached the first phase of a broader trade pact, global trade overall may not change significantly because the initial trade deal entails tariff cuts on some Chinese imports, meaning that most of Chinese goods sent to the US will be subject to the same tariffs in 2020.