Thailand April car exports dip to 2-year low amid slowing global demand

BANGKOK, NNA – Thailand’s automobile exports slumped to the lowest level in two years in April amid slower global growth triggered by the U.S.-China trade row, data from the Federation of Thai Industries released Thursday showed.

Key points:

-- April auto exports slumped 7.5 percent from a year earlier to 67,114 units, the lowest since 68,927 in April 2017. It was the first y/y drop in two months and followed a 6.9 percent increase to an 18-month high of 117,708 in March. In the first four months of the year, exports edged down 0.2 percent to 366,955 units.

-- Demand was lower from all major markets including Asia (-19.6 percent), Europe (-46.5 percent), North America (-14.9 percent) and Latin America (-42.9 percent), except Oceania (+23.4 percent) and the Middle East (+35.4 percent).

-- Auto output rose 11.5 percent on year to 150,242 units, with the pace of growth accelerating from 1.8 percent in March. Production for exports posted the first y/y rise in two months, up 2.8 percent at 75,169 units, while that for domestic shipments increased 21.7 percent to 75,073.

Takeaway:

-- Domestic car sales remained solid, thanks to new models introduced at the 40th Bangkok International Motor Show from March 27 to April 7, but any negative effect of the dry season weather on crops would hurt the purchasing power of some households.

-- Consumer and business sentiment hinges on how soon a new government will be formed in Thailand following the March 24 general election. No single party has won a majority in the 500-seat House of Representatives. The pro-military party Palang Pracha Rath is expected to form the government.

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