Thai Q1 exports show first y/y fall in 11 quarters on U.S.-China trade row

BANGKOK, NNA - Thailand’s customs-cleared exports in the period January to March marked the first year-on-year drop in 11 quarters amid the U.S.-China trade dispute.

Director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, Pimchanok Vonkorpon, said the decline was due largely to the global slowdown in trade and growth and that the government may miss its 8 percent export growth target this year.

The Commerce Ministry released the latest trade data on Monday.

Key points:

-- Q1 exports fell 1.6 percent from a year earlier to $61.99 billion, the first fall in 11 quarters.

-- Exports to the U.S. surged 32.2 percent to $8.79 billion, led by a temporary increase in weapons shipments, while exports to China dropped 9.2 percent to $6.69 billion. Shipments to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations fell 4.3 percent and those to Japan declined 1.6 percent.

-- By product, exports of electronics products and parts fell 12.3 percent to $8.43 billion, vehicles and parts dropped 6.6 percent to $9.27 billion and hard-disc drives tumbled 22.0 percent.

-- Q1 imports fell 1.2 percent to 59.98 billion dollars from a year earlier.

-- Exports in March dipped 4.9 percent to $21.44 billion from a year earlier, the first year-on-year fall in two months, while imports in March dropped 7.6 percent to $19.44 billion.

Takeaway:

-- Pimchanok said continued downside risks of slower global trade and weak commodity prices make it difficult for the government to achieve 8 percent growth in exports this year, but she expressed optimism as the U.S. and China work to resolve their dispute.

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