According to the Ministry of Commerce, March exports reached USD18.9 billion, faltering for the third straight month at 4.45 percent YoY, versus a shrinkage of 6.14 percent YoY in February. As a result, 1Q15 shipments reverted to a contraction of 4.7 percent YoY, the steepest quarterly decline in 5.5 years, versus the 1.6 percent YoY growth in 4Q14.
The most important factor inhibiting 1Q15 exports was slowing key trade partner economies, namely China, the European Union and ASEAN 5 amid an uncompetitive Baht forex rate, falling export prices, notable for petroleum products, agricultural commodities and gold – in line with global prices – have also dampened the overall outward trade value.
Over the remainder of 2015, given an unexpectedly steep export contraction during 1Q15, we at KResearch believe that we will have to be more cautious towards export projections in coming months. We, therefore, expect that Thai 2015 export growth will likely lean toward static growth, or be within (-)1.00 to (+)2.0 percent, because key export prices will remain subdued.