The value of Thailand’s border trade in the first quarter of this year dropped 7.64 per cent from the previous quarter to 264.97 billion baht ($8.2 billion), after measures were imposed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, said Department of Foreign Trade director-general Kirati Ratchano.
Of that figure, exports fell 5.42 per cent to 187.564 billion baht while imports dropped 12.61 per cent to 77.406 billion baht, he said.
Thai trade with Cambodia rose 15.01 per cent to 48.339 billion. Meanwhile, trade with Malaysia fell 27.78 per cent to 56.475 billion baht, trade with Myanmar fell 2.9 per cent to 48.167 billion baht and trade with Laos rose 2.43 per cent to 42.680 billion baht.
Trade between Thailand and southern China, as the country reopened, was up 4.88 per cent to 28.626 billion baht, said Kirati.
Trade with Singapore also increased, by 14.41 per cent to 19.701 billion baht. Thailand-Vietnam trade fell 27.86 per cent, however, to 13.538 billion baht.
Kirati said the Covid-19 crisis had forced Thailand to close all but 25 of its 42 border trade posts, which had narrowed the channel for exports.
Meanwhile, Thai exports in March were valued at $22.4 billion, expanding 4.17 per cent compared to the same period last year, while imports were worth $20.81 billion, expanding 7.58 per cent, giving Thailand a trade surplus of $1.59 billion.
In the first quarter, exports were valued at $62.67 billion, expanding 0.91 per cent, and Thailand’s trade surplus was $3.94 billion.
Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) chief Kanyapak Tantipipatpong said: “Thai exports are better than expected. Even though agricultural product exports have contracted by 1.1 per cent compared to 2019, exports of sugar, vegetables, fruit, frozen and processed chicken, livestock feeds have expanded.
“Moreover, export of gold, auto, aircraft and spaceship parts, computer devices, steel, iron and air conditioners have expanded 6.4 per cent,” he said.
The TNSC said the government must maintain an exchange rate between 32.5 and 34 baht to the dollar, offer loans to entrepreneurs and support agricultural products.
On Friday, Department of Agriculture director-general Sermsuk Salakphet said Indonesia will accept shipments of Thai dried butterfly pea flowers from this month onwards.
Thailand already exports dried butterfly pea flowers to countries including Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Malaysia. In Australia, Thai butterfly pea flowers have an export value of up to 4,000 baht per kg. The blue and purple flowers are mainly used to make tea and to dye sticky rice.
THE NATION (THAILAND)/ANN