Thai exports still rising despite pandemic

After a tough 2020, Thai exports are continuing to rise in 2021, climbing by 8.4 percent in August despite challenges from imposed virus-control restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.

August was the sixth straight month of export increases, with the last contraction occurring in February. While previous months have shown higher increases than August, Thai trade officials are predicting more robust shipments in the final quarter of the year.

For the first eight months this year, exports expanded by 15.3 percent to $177 billion, while imports rose by 31 percent to $176 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $1.41 billion.

Among the products providing the strongest gains were work-from-home products and home appliances such as computers, telephones and parts, microwave ovens, fax machines, telephones and parts, and radio and TV receivers and parts.  Products related to COVID-19 such as medical devices, pharmaceutical products and rubber gloves also did well.

The Kingdom is the only net food exporter in Asia, and agricultural and food products such as rubber, vegetables and fruit, palm oil, cassava products, rice, pet food and sugar all scored impressive gains in August and through most of the year.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said that the slower growth in August was primarily because of the government’s tighter lockdown measures that led some factories to shut down temporarily to contain outbreaks.

Chaichan Chareonsuk, Chairman of the Thai National Shippers’ Council, was upbeat saying that the council is forecasting exports would likely post 12 percent growth this year.