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Thai exports drop on global slowdown

 


September 20, 2008

Thai exports drop on global slowdown
Thailand's export growth fell sharply in August from a record in July as demand from the United States, Europe and Asian countries slowed, ministry data showed on Friday, reported Reuters, quoting analysts who expect the trend to continue.

"The month-on-month decline should be a sign to indicate that a global economic slowdown is affecting our exports, while the benefit from rising commodity prices is turning lower," Standard Chartered Bank economist Usara Wilaipich said.

"It's quite clear that export growth should be slower in the second half," she added.


Exports rose 14.9 percent to $15.89 billion in August after a a record 43.9 percent rise in July, while imports rose 26.9 percent to $16.67 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $782 million, the Commerce Ministry said.

"Exports are still growing well although they did not reach a record. We believe our target will be achieved," Commerce Ministry Permanent Secretary Siripol Yodmuangcharoen told a news conference.

The ministry's official 2008 export growth target is 12 to 15 percent, which compares with a 17.2 percent increase last year.

In the first eight months of this year, exports rose 24.5 percent to $120 billion, while imports increased 35.4 percent to $123 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $2.88 billion.

Exports of agricultural products, which accounted for 17 percent of the total, rose 41 percent in August on the year, down from a 72 percent rise in July as commodity prices fell.

Exports of industrial and fuel goods, which accounted for 77 percent, rose 11.2 percent in August, down from a 39.4 percent rise in the previous month.

Demand was lower from all major markets. Exports to the United States rose 6.3 percent, down from a 20 percent rise in July, while those to Europe increased 5.4 percent, slowing from a 15 percent rise in July.

Exports to five Southesast Asian neighbours rose 11.3 percent, down from a 62 percent rise in July, while sales to China grew only 1.4 percent in August after 37 percent in July.

Imports in August were led by fuel products and raw materials, which rose 44 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

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