Thailand: BoT outlook for exports perking up

  • Thailand’s export growth is likely to be moderately above the Bank of Thailand’s 4% estimate for 2018 in light of the robust pace in Jan 18 and its bright outlook, while the purchasing power of low-income in Jan 18 remained weak, says a senior official at the central bank.
  • The government set a lofty target of 8% export growth in 2018 after the Commerce Ministry reported that exports rose 17.6% y/y in Jan 18 to USD20.1bn (THB632bn), marking the highest increase since Nov 12.
  • The central bank said export value jumped 16.6% y/y and imports surged 22.5% in Jan 18 as inventory hoarding ahead of the Chinese New Year in Feb 18 provided a boost.
  • The Commerce Ministry and Bank of Thailand use a different base for export and import data. The former uses customs-cleared figures, while the latter uses payment-based numbers.
  • Mr Don said Feb 18’s exports and imports possibly dropped from Jan 18 as the impact from piling up inventory for the Chinese New Year wore off. But he said the trade outlook remains good.
  • Mr Don said Jan 18’s economic growth continued from 2017, thanks to strong exports and tourism and accelerated state spending, private consumption and investment.
  • The number of foreign tourist arrivals registered growth of 10.9% y/y, expanding for almost all nationalities, consistent with the robust pickup of the global economy.
  • The private investment index in Jan 18 rose to 1.2 from 0.3 in Dec 17 and Nov 17. Private investment indicators slightly increased from Dec 17 and are forecast to continue their upward trend. Investment in construction rose slightly, reflected by the increase in construction material sales, while investment in machinery and equipment remained unchanged.

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