Slowing global economy pressures Thai exports in April 2019 to contract for a second consecutive month. The outbound shipment of Thai goods in April 2019 totaled USD18,555.6 million, declining 2.57 percent YoY. Consequently, Thai exports in the first four months of 2019 dropped 1.86 percent YoY, a further decline from the first quarter. The contraction is attributed to slowing economic growth of key trading partners especially China and the European Union. Moreover, high base effect, due to front loading of electronic products and a sharp increase in prices of rice and tapioca in the world market in April 2018 have contributed to the lackluster export performance.
Thai exports in the remaining eight months of 2019 continue to face several challenges, namely, lower-than-expected global economic growth, fluctuations in the world's oil prices, cyclical downtrend of electronic goods, the possibility of Thailand's inclusion in the US' monitoring list of currency manipulation. Additionally, the resurgence of rising trade dispute between the US and China has heightened the tensions in the global trade atmosphere and added risks to Thai export sector in the remainder of 2019. Due to abovementioned factors, it will be a challenging task to maintain 2019 Thai export growth at 3.2 percent because the total value of Thai outbound shipments in the remaining eight months must reach USD22,500 million per month, which is higher an average monthly export value in the first four months of this year of USD20,136 million. KResearch therefore is revising our export forecasts in 2019. Based on our preliminary estimates, the export growth for the whole 2019 will slip below our initial projections of 2.5-3.5 percent.