Thailand’s exports shrank by 4.5 percent YoY in January 2023, for a fourth consecutive decline, as pressure from the global economic slowdown in the second half of 2022 persisted in early 2023. Factors affecting Thai shipments in January included an ongoing decline in exports to most major trading partners except the Eurozone. Exports to China saw a contraction of 11.4 percent YoY, with a particular slump in shipments of computers and parts and plastic pellets due to China’s reduced demand. The widely anticipated benefits from China’s reopening had yet to become apparent in January 2023. However, exports to the Chinese market are expected to improve going forward. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of China's manufacturing sector in February 2023 was better than expected at 52.6.
Regarding the 2023 outlook for Thailand’s exports, shipments are likely to be pressured by the ongoing global economic sluggishness, the high base of 2022, and commodity prices that tend to decrease from a year earlier. However, the global economy may not slow down as sharply as a previous forecast. This is because China’s reopening would be a key driver for its higher economic growth. Meanwhile, even though the US and Eurozone economies had earlier begun to signal a slowdown, several recently released figures reflect that their respective economic outlooks remain positive. KResearch therefore views that there is less likelihood of a slowdown in the US and Eurozone economies this year. This will have positive impacts on overall international trade and the global economy. Consequently, KResearch projects that Thai exports will see only a slight contraction of 0.5 percent in 2023.