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25 Apr 2017

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March 2017 Shipments Hit a 4-Year High on Renewed External Demand (Business Brief No.3673 Full Ed.)

 Thailand's exports in March 2017 were recorded at USD20.88 billion, the highest in 46 months, owing to multiple conducive factors, e.g., better prices that have contributed to improved sales performance in our outbound trade. In particular, exports closely linked to oil prices skyrocketed 46.0 percent YoY, thanks to rising crude oil prices and demand for these merchandise spurred by expanding global economic growth.

This expansion has boosted Thai exports both directly and indirectly via China's and Japan's supply chains. Current global economic growth has been led by major economies, the US, EU (28), Japan and China – all having enjoyed rebounds in domestic purchasing power. As a result, trade is prospering and thus stimulating our shipments to their economies.

After carmakers relocated production bases from Australia to Thailand and Indonesia, we became a major production base for pickup trucks and motorcycles, and their export values have been buoyant. Such relocation attributed to growth in our sales of pickup trucks, buses and trucks to Oceania countries. Meanwhile, the relocation of some ‘big bike' manufacturers from Europe to Thailand, along with elevated demand in the EU, has resulted in a sharp increase in our shipments of motorbikes and parts to the EU, too.

Likewise, exports of electronics soared 17.4 percent YoY, probably due to the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) that has possibly triggered a comeback for consumer electronics, aside from a new upward cycle in electronics merchandising that usually lasts around 2-3 years. If products from Thailand evolve to support the IoT, our electronics shipments should help invigorate our export sector this year.

Over the first three months of 2017, the better performance of our export sector resulted chiefly from upticks in prices. However, volumes shipped haven't shown much increase, so it would be wise to keep track of developments in the export sector. On the condition that shipments of our more lucrative products, e.g., food, electrical appliances, electronics and auto-related components/parts, can retain their momentum, which would illustrate continued demand for Thai goods, our exports should grow higher than our 2.0 percent growth YoY estimate.

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