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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           26   August  2011

Thai exports boom in July

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Following some softening in recent months, Thai exports regained strength in July, with a record monthly value and growth of 38.2 percent year-on-year, bringing the seven-month expansion to 25.7 percent.

Exports were worth US$21.52 billion in July, breaking the previous record of $21.07 billion in March. The July growth was the highest in 13 months and a huge improvement from growth of 16.83 percent in June and 17.58 percent in May.

Yanyong Phuangrach, the permanent secretary to the Commerce Ministry, said exports rose in all major sectors, especially farm products, with 53.5 percent expansion from a year earlier to $3.79 billion. The farm export growth was spurred by rubber (up 69.3 percent) and rice (110.6 percent).

Thailand exported $14.11 billion worth of industrial goods in July, up 37.9 percent year-on-year. The expansion reflected a sharp rise of 302 percent in exports of gems and jewelery, while gold exports surged 3.92 times to $995 million.

The steady revival in Japan's economy also helped push Thai exports in July. Growth in the Japanese market was 23 percent and Europe 35.5 percent, but the US market slowed down, expanding by only 8.1 percent.

Exports in the first seven months were worth $136.5 billion, up by 25.7 percent year-on-year.

Imports in July were worth $18.12 billion, up by 13.5 percent year-on-year, resulting in a trade surplus of $2.798 billion. The seven-month total was $130.25 billion, up by 26.1 percent, resulting in a surplus of $6.24 billion.

Mr Yanyong said the Commerce Ministry was maintaining its export growth target at 15 percent for this year despite foreseeable problems in some markets since exporters are seeking new ones.

"Although the new government has a policy of strengthening domestic trade and local consumption to reduce dependence on exports, exports will remain the major factor, generating income of more than $200 billion for the country this year," he said.

Sompop Manarungsan, president of the Panyapiwat Institute of Technology, said July exports rose impressively despite the global economic problems. The expansion was partly supported by growth in the Chinese market of 83.3 percent, compensating for the drop in the US.

Growth in the Chinese market was helped by Beijing's policy of spurring domestic consumption. New infrastructure also pushed up imports of rubber and other raw materials.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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