Partly because of seasonal factors and a high 2013 base of comparison, January outward trade edged down (-)1.98 percent YoY, or (-)4.2 percent YoY exclusive of gold. However, exports to primary markets continued to pick up and shipments of some major categories might experience recovery soon.
Exports will not likely achieve an obvious uptrend in 1Q14, owing to manufacturing limitations weighing on some product categories, particularly agricultural commodities such as rice and rubber. However, KResearch is of the view that some primary export categories have begun to rebound; this trend is expected to continue, eventually resulting in growth within the foreseeable future. Products with such potential include electronics and machinery (automotive electrical circuit boards, electrical appliances/parts, air conditioners/parts), fashion products (gems/non-gold jewelry and apparel) plus some agro-processed produce categories (chilled/frozen shrimps/chicken). Demand for Thai exports is also expected to grow amid buoyant economic prospects in Japan, the EU and US. We believe that chances are good for overall outward trade to return to growth in 2014.
KResearch remains hopeful toward Thai exports this year and project that growth will reach around 3.0-7.0 percent, with a median case at 5.0 percent, bettering the (-)0.3 percent contraction in 2013.