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31 Mar 2023

Econ Digest

Thai exports in 2023 may see a deeper contraction of 1.2%, affected by the global economic slowdown


        Thailand’s export sector in early 2023 remained under pressure from a slowing global economy. The country’s shipments in February contracted for the fifth consecutive month, down 4.7%YoY, due mainly to an economic slowdown among its key trading partners such as the U.S., the Eurozone and Japan. This is reflected by the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of such countries’ manufacturing sector in February 2023, which remained below the threshold of 50. As a result, Thai exports to almost all major markets – except the Eurozone – have declined, especially electronic products, electrical appliances, plastic pellets and plastic products. However, shipments to China have seen improvement with smaller declines, thanks to its cancellation of COVID-19 control measures at the beginning of 2023.

        KResearch holds the view that Thailand’s overall 2023 export growth will continue to be pressured by the global economic sluggishness. As evidenced, the U.S. and Eurozone economies have faced heightened uncertainties, especially problems in the banking sector. This may have an impact on Thailand’s international trade. Additional factors affecting the country’s outbound shipments are the high base of 2022, and global commodity prices that have tended to decline as compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, China's demand for products has gradually increased following the lifting of its COVID-19 containment measures. KResearch therefore projects that 2023 Thai exports may shrink by 1.2% (from a previous contraction of 0.5% forecast in January 2023).

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