Thai merchandise exports in December 2022 fell sharply by -14.6%YOY, marking the third consecutive month of decline. Exports of all key products weakened, with agricultural, agro-industrial, industrial, and mineral and fuel products falling by -11.5%, -10.7%, -15.7%, and -4.8% respectively. Exports to China fell for the 7th consecutive month, while exports to the US returned to a contraction. Imports of major merchandise also fell, with raw and intermediate raw materials and fuel products declining by -17.1% and -13.2% respectively. As a result, the customs basis trade balance registered at a deficit of USD -1,033.9 million, marking 9 consecutive months of deficit. Despite these conditions, the value of Thai exports in 2022 stood at USD 287,067.9 million, marking a 5.5%YOY growth.
The value of Thai exports in December 2022 was at USD 21,718.8 million, falling sharply by -14.6%YOY (compared to the same period in the prior year). Such a decline persisted after weakening by -6% in November, partly due to the high base. Furthermore, the contraction marked a 3 consecutive months drop after expanding continually for as long as 20 months. In terms of the seasonally adjusted month-on-month growth, exports in December shrank by -2.1%MOM_sa, but still the softest contraction during the second half of 2022. Nevertheless, excluding gold (a product that does not reflect actual international trade conditions), Thai exports during the month weakened by -13.9%YOY. Despite such conditions, the value of Thai exports in 2022 stood at USD 287,067.9 million, marking a 5.5%YOY growth, thanks to support from buyers around the globe sourcing backup food reserves, slowing freight, and the gradually increasing numbers of shipping containers.
Exports of major products fell across the board.
Exports of all key products weakened in December, in which (1) Exports of agricultural products plummeted to -11.5% compared to contracting by -4.5% in November. Exports of rubber, cassava products, processed chicken, and rice shrank considerably, while exports of chilled or frozen poultry cuts and Fresh and frozen fruits continued to expand. (2) Exports of agro-industrial products reverted to a contraction of -10.7%, after slightly improving by 1% in November and used to be a product group that continued to expand well for 20 months. The key products that undermined growth included sugar, canned fruits, and prepared or preserved fruits, while animal or vegetable fats and oils somewhat expanded. (3) Exports of industrial products dropped by -15.7%, worsening from -5.1%
in November. The key products that weighed down growth were motor cars, parts and accessories, automatic data processing machines and accessories, chemical products, polymers of ethylene, propylene, etc in primary forms, rubber products, parts aircraft and accessories thereof, and iron and steel and their products. Meanwhile, exports of Semi-conductor devices, transistors and diodes, electrical transformers and parts thereof, and motorcycles, and parts and accessories continued to grow; and (4) Exports of mineral and fuel products fell by -4.8%, drastically improving from -35% in the previous month following continually growing crude oil exports despite at a slower rate.
Exports to China continued to fall for the 7th consecutive month. Also, exports to the US returned to a contraction following increasing recession risks.
Overall, exports by key destinations in December continued to shrink across the board, reflecting an accelerated decline in global demand, in which (1) Exports to China continued to drop for 7 consecutive months with a fall of -20.8% in December compared to -9.9% in the previous month. (2) Exports to the US reverted to a contraction of -3.9% after expanding by 1.2% in the prior month. Such a worsening condition was in line with drastically worsening US economic activities. (3) Exports to EU28 fell by -0.9% after expanding by 3.3% in the previous month as economic conditions slowed following to the energy crisis; and (4) Exports to CLMV considerably weakened for the 2nd month within 15 month with a contraction of -11.8% in December. Meanwhile, exports to ASEAN5 worsened to -24.2% compared to -15.5% in November. On the other hand, exports to the Middle East continued to improve by 4.7%, despite considerably slowing from the 22.4% and 13.5% expansion in October and November, respectively. Nevertheless, the destination was the only key market Thai exports saw 11 consecutive months growth.
Thai trade deficit continued to widen.
The value of imports in December stood at USD 22,752.7 million, returning to a contraction of -11.9% compared to an expansion of 5.6% in November. Imports of major merchandise fell across the board, especially imports of raw and intermediate raw materials, which saw the sharpest decline at -17.1% in comparison to -1.7% in the previous month. Similarly, imports of fuel products dropped by -13.2% as energy prices slowed. Nevertheless, Thai imports stalled at a considerably slower rate compared to exports following the Thai economic recovery pace and a broadened global economic slowdown, causing the customs basis trade balance to register at a deficit of USD -1,033.9 million in December. Such a posted result marked 9 consecutive months of deficit. As such, imports…