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22 May 2020

Trading

Thai exports for April 2020 grew by 2.1percent, thanks to a dramatic rise in gold exports by 1,103 percent and other temporary factors (Business Brief No.3866)

The value of Thai exports for April 2020 stood at USD 18,948.2 million, with continuous expansion for the second consecutive month at a rate of 2.12 percent YoY – contrary to analysts' earlier projection of a 4.6 percent contraction. The fact that many of Thailand's trade partners have enforced lockdown measures is likely to present an obstacle to Thai exports in April 2020, with expansion in the latter month influenced by the following four temporary factors:

          • Gold exportssurged by as much as 1,103 YoY from an increase in demand for holding of safe haven assets, following a sharp spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in April 2020, especially cases in the United States and European states. Excluding gold exports, the value of Thai exports would shrink by 10.3 YoY.
          • Exports of electronic goo​ds continued to expand, especially shipments of computers and other related hardware, which rose by 6.8 percent – benefiting partially from 'work from home' initiative that sparked a rise in demand for personal computers.
          • Food product exports grew by 10.6 percent YoY as part of a rise in global demand amid accelerating importation in many countries to prevent food shortages.
          • Dispatches of commercial aircrafts back to their countries of origin like Indonesia and Australia has been ongoing as Thailand issued measures to limit flight arrivals and departures from late March 2020 and onwards.

KResearch projects that the value of Thai exports in 2020 will shrink by 5.6 percent YoY, in spite of positive expansions in food products and electronic goods during 1H20 that stemmed from temporary spikes in demand during this global health crisis. Meanwhile, the global economy, as a whole, has entered a stage of recession and still faces the risk of further contractions, should each respective authority fail to contain the viral transmission. Moreover, the stagnation in various chains of production as a result of cities undergoing lockdowns is another factor that determines the diminishing trend of Thai exports for the remainder of 2020.