Thai exports expanded at fastest pace in 11 years

Export growth is one of Thailand’s most important economic indicators, and exports grew at an annual rate of 17.1 percent in 2021 – the fastest rate in 11 years – capped by a 24.2 percent surge last December, government officials said last week.

The strong performance is a healthy sign that the Kingdom’s economy has continued to recover from the effects of the pandemic after being battered during its early phases by restrictions on movements and shutdowns in key markets overseas.

“Such a strong expansion during COVID-19 can be attributed to import acceleration in many countries to stock up prior to the holiday season, an improved environment related to the semiconductor shortage, and the implementation of the export promotion plan,” said Jurin Laksanawisit, Minister of Commerce.

During 2021, Thai exports increased at a clip of 17.1 percent to $271 billion, while imports rose by 29.8 percent to $268 billion, producing a trade surplus of $3.57 billion.

December’s export growth was even more robust, rising by 24.2 percent to $24.9 billion, after November’s 18.9 percent increase. Imports, however, rose faster in December, by 33.4 percent to $25.3 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $354 million.

Over the decades, Thai exports have proven to be remarkably resilient because of the diversity and quality of goods the Kingdom produces.

Exports that grew in December included agricultural and food products, work-from-home products and home appliances such as furniture and parts, computers and parts, radios and TV receivers and parts, microwave ovens, refrigerators and parts, air conditioners and parts, telephones and parts, as well as medical and pharmaceutical products, according to the Ministry.

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