Thai exports exhibited satisfactory growth for the third consecutive month in January, reaching 8.8 percent YoY. Apparent reasons for this included last year's low base of comparison and a rapid expansion in gold shipments as well as exports of goods with prices related to oil. Exclusive of both those items, our January 2017 exports rose 4.8 percent YoY. Top performers included computers/parts and electronic integrated circuits.
In detail, Thailand's outbound trade to five key destinations, i.e., China, Japan, the US, EU (15) and ASEAN (9), sustained strong growth momentum for three consecutive months. This satisfactory performance was partly supported by goods related to oil pricing, and commodity shipments that had improved during the period. However, our shipments to the Mideast (15) continued to contract for the eighth month in a row.
KResearch views that the recent growth on Thai exports may fluctuate quite significantly later versus 2016 data, as a technical reason. Meanwhile, recent gains in crude oil prices have added to the Thai export value for some goods, but will gradually fade, given that global crude oil prices are expected to remain quite static after the end of 2016 as the global supply has filled up with US production, despite lower outputs from both OPEC and Non-OPEC producers. As such, we have set our 2017 export forecast at 0.8 percent growth YoY, or within a range of (-)0.5-2.5 percent. Nevertheless, if this momentum can be upheld in our most lucrative export categories of food, automobiles/parts, printed circuit boards and electronics, we may later revise upward this projection.