Thailand trade balance swings to deficit as exports weaken

Thailand’s exports fell again in April amid weak regional demand, sending the country’s trade balance back into deficit. 

Exports shrank 2.57 per cent year on year in April according to Reuters, slightly more than a poll predicting a 2.5 per cent fall. The drop represented a moderation from last month’s 4.88 per cent decline.

However, imports fell by 0.7 per cent, significantly smaller than both economists’ forecasts and last month’s drop of 4.6 per cent and 7.63 per cent respectively. 

As a result, the Southeast Asian country’s trade balance slipped into negative territory, notching a deficit of $1.46bn after two consecutive months of surpluses. 

The country’s lacklustre export performance has weighed on economic growth, with gross domestic product growth dropping to its slowest pace in more than four years according to data released on Tuesday. 

Analysts at Nomura said “ a sharp slowdown in exports” had driven the GDP underperformance, citing negative factors including “external uncertainty from the US-China trade war and Brexit and domestic political uncertainty”.

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