Manufacturing in Thailand soared over 25 percent in May

Factories in Thailand remained undaunted by the pandemic in May, turning out 25.8 percent more goods than the same month last year and beating analysts’ forecasts. It was the third straight month that the manufacturing production index rose higher.

The rise in production was the most robust since 2016 and was driven by increased demand for Thailand’s exports. During the month of May, Thai exports surged by 44 percent compared to the same month last year, representing the strongest increase in 11 years. Exports also rose in April by over 19 percent year on year.

“We expect to see a continuous, robust recovery of Thai exports in the next phase,” Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told reporters.

The increased production was all the more surprising considering that some factories shut down during the global pandemic. Suriya Jungrungruangkit, Minister of Industry, insisted that the closures were limited and temporary. The overwhelming majority of factories, he said, remained open, up and running.

And they have been producing more electronics products, home appliances, steel, chemical products, furniture and paper packaging, according to the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE).

In May, auto production went into overdrive and the air conditioning plants heated up.  Car manufacturing increased by 151.4 percent year on year, while production of air conditioners increased by 90 percent year on year.

The uptick in manufacturing also had the effect of improving Thailand’s capacity utilization rate. The rate rose to 65.3 percent in May compared to 52.1 percent at the same time last year, according to the OIE.