Thailand cross-border trade dips 2% to 1.12T baht

Thailand saw its cross-border trade dip by nearly 2 percent during the first 10 months of the year on account of various factors which include a global economic slowdown.

The Commerce Ministry’s Foreign Trade Department reported on Thursday that cross-border trade declined by 1.94 percent to 1.12 trillion baht, with the drop attributed to the strong baht, the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, and the volatile foreign exchange.

The figure included transit trade which points to businesses involved in the passage of commodities in one or more countries.

Of the total, exports were accounted for 627 billion baht, a dip of 2.05 percent versus the same period last year, while imports amounted to 498 billion baht. This resulted in a trade surplus of 129 billion baht.

Meanwhile, trade with four of Thailand’s neighboring countries—Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia—decreased by 2.96 percent to 900 billion baht year-on-year.

Exports were accounted for 509 billion baht, a 5.04-percent decline, while imports stood at 391 billion baht, also down by 0.11 percent.

Malaysia remained the biggest border trade partner with worth 438 billion baht of traded goods. It was followed by Laos with 165 billion baht, Myanmar with 164 billion baht, while Cambodia was at 133 billion baht.

Trade department director-general Keerati Rushchano said border trade dropped with most neighboring countries.

In particular, exports to Malaysia continued to slow particularly on rubber goods, while that of Laos fell especially for diesel, and automobiles and parts.

Border trade with Myanmar rose but at a slower pace, tempered by the declines in diesel and alcoholic drinks.

Exports to Cambodia, on the other hand, rose, boosted by alcoholic drinks, automobiles and parts.

Meanwhile, trade with China, Vietnam, and Singapore further grew by 2.34 percent during the period to 226 billion baht.

Exports increased by 13.4 percent to 118 billion baht, while imports dropped by 7.56 percent to 107 billion.

China remained the largest transit trade with 107 billion baht, while Vietnam and Singapore were at 56.3 billion baht and 61.1 billion baht, respectively.

“The department is committed to proceeding with activities to boost border trade and the border economies,” Rushchano said.

“In early 2020, the department will hold a border trade expo at the Eastern Economic Corridor and in southern Thailand,” he added.