Exports of automobiles and parts hit eight-year high

Exports of automobiles and parts revived into high gear last month hitting an eight-year high in May and providing an open road for Thailand to advance the Kingdom’s economy beyond expected.

Shipments of automobiles and parts shot up by 170 percent in May compared to the same month last year, the fastest growth in almost a decade. Thailand has long had the largest vehicle-manufacturing sector in Southeast Asia and has been called the Detroit of the region. Virtually every major global carmaker manufactures in the Kingdom.

The Bank of Thailand viewed the auto sector’s performance as a bright spot for the economy, despite having downgraded its projections for this year’s growth rate due to the economic effects of the pandemic. But, last week the Bank of Thailand raised its 2021 export growth forecast to an 11-year high of 17.1 percent, up from the 10.0 percent rise forecast in March.

“This year should be sunshine,” said Yeap Swee Chuan, President of auto parts maker AAPICO Hitech. His company is targeting sales growth of 20 percent and much higher profits this year.

“So far we have not seen much impact from whatever situation in Thailand as the export market is still strong, and the local market, the demand seems to be still there up to this moment,” Yeap added.

Exports have long been the main piston in Thailand’s economic engine and their importance has become more crucial, while the tourism industry would hopefully follow suit once the health measures could be relaxed as the COVID-19 situation has gradually improved.