Thai export growth in September 2018 recorded the first drop in 19 months due partly to a sharp decline in gold exports as a result of a high base effect last year and volatility of the gold market. After an exclusion of gold export value, which contracted 78.7 percent YoY, Thai exports shrank slightly 0.8 percent YoY. Exacerbating the situation was the impact from severe weather with typhoons hitting some countries, the prolonged US-China trade dispute that will have a long-term impact on various Thai export items, especially those under the Chinese supply chains, and the Chinese economic slowdown. At any rate, weaker Thai outbound trade in September is in alignment with the deceleration of shipments from other countries in the region.
The monthly Thai outbound shipments in the first nine months of 2018 were valued at USD21.08 billion on average or up by 8.1 percent annually. Thus, Thai exports in 4Q18 must reach the monthly average of USD22.6 billion or a rise by 11 percent annually in order for Thai exports in the entire year of 2018 to expand 8.8 percent, according to KResearch forecast. Therefore, close attention should be paid to the escalated US-China trade war and the slowdown in the Chinese economy.