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31 Oct 2022

Econ Digest

Thai exports continued to expand by 7.8% in September 2022, driven by the expansion of industrial product exports and the easing of the semiconductor shortage


        Thailand’s overall exports growth accelerated to 7.8% YoY in September 2022 (excluding gold, oil and weaponry shipments, the exports grew by 9.0% YoY), resulting in a 10.6% YoY expansion of Thai exports in the first 9 months of the year.

Factors affecting exports in September 2022

  • Exports to the U.S. expanded very well, especially for computers, mobile phones and electric appliances, partly due to the easing of the semiconductor shortage and in line with the recovery of the manufacturing sector in Thailand.
  • Thailand’s sugar exports declined in September, especially to Indonesia and Taiwan, as the supply in the global market has improved.
  • Thailand registered a smaller trade deficit in September. Although imports exceeded exports, the imports grew at a slower pace, mainly due to the decline in global crude oil prices, which remains highly volatile ahead.

There is a golden opportunity for Thai exports to the Middle East market in 2022 amid the economic slowdown in Thailand’s major trading partners

  • The Middle East market has played an important role in the expansion of Thai exports this year, partly due to economic growth in oil-exporting countries that have benefited from rising global oil prices. While trade relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia have improved since Saudi Arabia downgraded diplomatic ties with Thailand in 1990, the official visit of the Thai Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia early this year and the cooperation agreement reached between the private sectors between the two countries in August 2022 has contributed to an 18.0% YOY increase in Thai exports to Saudi Arabia in the first 9 months of 2022, accounting for 0.65% of total exports (it was approximately 2% in 1989). Looking ahead, Thai exports to Saudi Arabia will tend to increase, especially in the categories of automobiles, food and construction, due to the support from the government such as Thailand’s proposed negotiation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to establish a free trade agreement (FTA) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference.
  • Thailand’s exports to the Middle East countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia expanded very well, up by 47.5% YoY in September, resulting in a growth of 26.7% YoY in the first 9 months of the year. Export goods that grew well were automobiles and components, rice, gems and jewelry.

        KResearch maintains its projection for Thai exports in 2022 at 7.8% based on the view that exports in the second half of 2022 will slow down from the first half of 2022. KResearch assesses that Thai exports in the second half of 2022 will slow down from 12.7% in the first half of 2022, due to the decline in export volume, the future slowing trend in the global economy, and the high base in the last quarter of 2021. As a result, Thai exports are expected to grow at 7.8% in 2022

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