Thailand has announced that its cross-border trade, including transit trade, fell by 7.42% year-on-year in the first eight months, mainly attributed to the impact of the pandemic and a slowing economy.
Border trade with four neighbouring countries amounted to 497 billion baht, down 11.5% year-on-year. Of the total, exports stood at 293 billion baht, down 9.63%, and imports were 204 billion, down 14%. Thailand maintained a trade surplus of 88.5 billion baht.
Except for Cambodia, where two-way trade was recorded with a modest gain of 1.09 perent at 108 million baht, trade with Malaysia totalled 152 billion baht, a 21% decline, followed by trade with Laos at 123 billion and a 6.33% decline, Myanmar with 114 billion and by 13%.
The Commerce Ministry’s Foreign Trade Department reported on Wednesday overall border trade, including transit trade, totalled 853 billion baht, with Malaysia the biggest partner by value.
Transit trade involves the passage of goods through more than one country.
Of the total figures, exports represented 494 billion baht, down 7.37% year-on-year from the first eight months of last year, while imports shrank by 7.49% to 358 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of 136 billion.
Transit trade, mainly with Singapore, Vietnam and southern China, fell 1.05% in the first eight months to 355 billion baht.
Transit trade with southern China and Singapore gained by 13.6% and 12%, respectively. Transit trade value was 153 billion baht with southern China and 56.8 billion with Singapore.
Important exports to China were fresh fruit; chilled, frozen and dried fruit; computers and components; and rubber products. Key shipments to Singapore included engines and components; computers and parts; and electric circuits.
Transit trade value with Vietnam and other countries fell by 20.6% and 14.6% to 39.7 billion and 105 billion baht, respectively.
Key exports to Vietnam included fresh fruit; chilled, frozen and dries fruit; non-alcoholic beverages; semiconductor devices; transistors; and diodes.
Keerati Rushchano, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the main factors affecting border trade volume were the pandemic and closure of border checkpoints to prevent an outbreak.
“During the middle of August, Myanmar saw a second wave of Covid-19,” he said. “Governors of border provinces banned movement of people, cars and products via three temporary checkpoints in Mae Hong Son.”
In Kanchanaburi, one temporary border checkpoint was shuttered at Three Pagodas Pass. Only 36 of 97 border checkpoints nationwide are open.
“The department will keep a close watch on Covid-19 and lockdown measures in neighbouring countries, looking for trading solutions at checkpoints,” said Mr Keerati.