Thailand's cross-border trade was down by 9.7 percent year-on-year in the first five months of 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, and neighbours’ closure of nearly all border checkpoints.
Aranyaprathet in Sa Kaeo is a key border trade district between Thailand and Cambodia.
(Photo: Bangkok Post)
Statistics releases by the Foreign Trade Department showed the country's overall cross-border trade, including transit trade, totalled 524.35 billion THB (16.74 billion USD) from January to May, with Malaysia remaining the biggest partner by value.
Of the total figures, exports from Thailand were 305.72 billion THB, down 9 percent from the first five months of last year, while imports were 218.63 billion THB, down 10.7 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of 87.09 billion THB.
Two-way trade with Malaysia totalled 87.85 billion THB (down 32.4 percent), followed by trade with Laos (77.17 billion THB, down 6.6 percent), Myanmar (73.74 billion THB, down 11 percent) and Cambodia (70.87 billion THB, up 5.2 percent).
Transit trade, mainly with Singapore, Vietnam and southern China, fell 1.5 percent in the first five months to 214.71 billion THB.
Transit trade with southern China and Singapore was up, by 15.7 percent and 20.8 percent respectively. Transit trade value was 90.74 billion THB with southern China and 36.10 billion THB with Singapore.
Transit trade value with Vietnam and other countries fell by 26.7 percent and 16.9 percent to 24.69 billion and 63.18 billion THB respectively.
Keerati Rushchano, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said cross-border and transit trade remains bearish because of the pandemic, leading Thailand to close 69 border checkpoints out of the total of 97.
The hope is that the situation will improve in the second half of the year, he said, given that demand for Thai goods from nearby countries remains strong.
Nonetheless, gauged by the performance in the first five months, the border trade target of 1.5 trillion THB for 2020 is unlikely to be achieved, Keerati said, adding that viable figures are likely 1-1.1 trillion THB this year because of COVID-19./.