Exports during February returned to expansion at 2.43 percent growth YoY, totaling USD18.36 billion, bettering January's (-)1.98 percent contraction; although this was partly the result of increased gold shipments (exclusive of gold, February exports logged only 0.3 percent growth YoY). However, that gain was also an upshot of higher demand from major trade partners (the EU, Japan, ASEAN, Australia and China), inducing larger shipments of primary products such as autos/parts, computers/components, gems/jewelry and electric circuit boards.
Healthier February outbound trade brought expansion back to exports for the first two months of 2014 (2M14), which grew 0.2 percent YoY. Despite being a rather low rate, this figure suggests that the export value to several key markets will later accelerate. If things progress well over the next several months, a firmer recovery can be expected. Exciting prospects are likelier vis-à-vis the US, EU, Middle East and CLMV markets.
Considering this, we at KResearch are of the view that Thailand's outbound trade will grow around 5.0 percent YoY, or within 3.0-7.0 percent YoY, as projected before. We, however, will keep monitoring this trend as it develops for several product categories; likewise, economic progress in China, emerging markets and in the G3 nations (US, EU and Japan) will bear watching. Other developments requiring close scrutiny include current manufacturing limitations here and the prices of major commodities, as well as trade partners' confidence over Thai producers in meeting product shipment deadlines amid political uncertainties here.