The Thai exports in November 2009 turned positive at 17.2 percent growth YoY, for the first time in 13 months. However, it was still lower than expected. Meanwhile, the value of exports dropped to USD13.84 billion from USD14.813 billion in October. Exports, SA, MoM, shrank 1.8 percent, in continuation from the slowdown seen in the previous month. While Thai exports declined in November, the exports of most Asian countries, e.g., China, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore recorded higher values.
Although the top two exports, being computers, accessories and parts, as well as automobiles, accessories and parts, enjoyed higher values over-month, several other categories recorded declining exports. They were divided into three key groups, i.e., commodities and raw materials, including gold and oil; electrical appliances and parts, which had achieved larger shipments in the past two months, and labor-intensive products that have encountered intense price competition. The smaller shipments, over-month, were quite unusual during the key seasonal delivery month and might stem partly from the strengthening Baht. Notably, exports to China recorded heftier growth over the previous month, mostly seen in raw materials, particularly rubber (almost doubling the volume in October). This reflected demand for Chinese inventory replenishment.
During the first 11-months of 2009, Thai exports contracted 17 percent, over-year. In December, KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER (KResearch) expects that exports may show only moderate growth amid concern about the global turnaround. Next year, KResearch forecasts that exports in 2010 may resume positive growth in a range of 9.0-12.0 percent, against the 15.0 percent-contraction estimated for 2009, thanks to global economic improvements, the lower base effect of this year, higher farm produce prices and tariff reductions per FTA pacts. Even so, our export recovery remains at risk. Among the major challenges will be economic fragility in developed countries, concern about stability in emerging economies and the Baht appreciation. Other factors that may also threaten Thai exports include intensified market competition globally, trade protectionism, the Thai-Cambodian rift and our domestic political problems that may affect the confidence of importers.