A relatively recent positive mood in the global economy has benefited the Thai export sector with rising export orders. Several industrial product categories saw higher shipments, helping to counterbalance poor performance in agricultural and agro-industrial exports that are continuing to face limited supplies and competitive disadvantages. August exports showed the first gain in four months at 3.9 percent YoY, beating the (-)1.5 percent contraction in July. This helped bolster Thai export performance for 8M13 to grow 1.0 percent YoY.
The rosier picture for August, however, was not powerful enough to save our outward trade from some suffering due to a long overdue recovery following several setbacks. However, 2013 export growth is projected at 1.5 percent, or within 0.5-3.0 percent (our downward revision as of September 16), against 3.0 percent in 2012. Still, KResearch has an optimistic view toward our exports over the last four months of 2013, expecting an upbeat economic trend in our potential markets, e.g., Australia, South Africa and the Middle East – especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia – given a better global economic outlook. When coupled with seasonal factors and a low 2012 base, our shipments should do well through to the yearend.
Some issues will need close scrutiny, however; for example, the possibility of Baht volatility (in accordance with capital flows affected by the Fed's stance over its monetary policy). This could impact exporters' decisions to take orders. Other stumbling blocks include limited supplies of some items in the canned/frozen seafood category and new technological trends causing poor performances in some exports that used to be among our top earners.