Thai economics “Doom & Gloom” gets a break! Trade swung big surplus & border trade robust

Local press reports Thailand swung to a $1.77 billion trade surplus in February from a deficit of $2.52 billion in January, according to the Ministry of Commerce today. And border trade remain robust and highly in Thailand’s favor (Source).

Exports in February grew 2.43% from a year earlier to $18.36 billion, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Srirat Rastapana said at a news conference. The Commerce Ministry has set an export-growth target of 5% this year.

Industrial exports rose 6.8%, led by a 17.2% increase in shipments of autos and auto parts and a 9.6% rise in shipments of electronic items, data from the ministry showed. Shipment of agricultural products contracted 5.7%, but rice exports increased 17% thanks to lower prices and a weaker baht, the ministry said.

Imports last month dropped 16.62% to $16.6 billion due to a slowdown in purchase of machinery, vehicles and vehicle parts. Ms. Srirat said the country’s months-long political crisis limited export growth in February, shaking the confidence of local manufacturers and overseas buyers.

Antigovernment protests aimed at ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have entered their fifth month. A Thai court last week nullified the Feb. 2 election, adding uncertainty to the country’s political and economic outlook.

Meanwhile, the prospect of ASEAN AEC is providing a spark of optimism. For example, on Thai Myanmar “Border Trade” alone, trade jumped to nearly US$ 700 million, most of that Thai export to Myanmar.

Myanmar-Thailand border trade has reached nearly US$ 700 million (Ks 676.19 billion), with the Myawady border trade camp and others accounting for the majority of this volume, according to the Commerce and Customer Affairs Department of the Ministry of Economics and Commerce.

Myanmar-Thailand border trading from April 1 last year through the second week of March for the 2013-14 fiscal year has reached US$ 679.2 million, with most of the volume consumed by imports from Thailand, the department said.

Most border trade transactions occurred through the Tachilek border trading camp in Shan State, Myawady camp in Kayin State, and the Kaw Thoung, Myeik, Nabule/Htikhi, and Maw Taung camps in Taninthayi Region.

During the above-mentioned period, trading volumes in respective camps were US$ 278.5 million in Myawady, US$ 86.15 million in Tachilek, US$ 115.2 million in Kaw Thoung, US$ 147 million in Myeik, US$ 51.92 million in Nabule/Htikhi, and US$ 36.7 million in Maw Taung.
Trading camps along the borders are planning to promote more border trade with neighbours Thailand and China, according to department sources.

Border trading camps in the planning stage are Maila trading camp on the Myanmar-China border and Mese, Hpayathonesu and Ponpa Kyin camps on the Myanmar-Thailand border.

Myanmar-Thailand border trading camps that opened last year, such as Nabule/Htikhi and Maw Taung, are performing a small volume of trade—mostly imports.

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