Green Shoots Salad : exports crashed 26,6 % in may

I know : I’m boring. And bored. I repeat the same things… But the events are boring too. No change. 😉


The dollar value of Thai exports in May fell 26.6% from a year earlier to US$11.65 billion and was down 17% in local currency to 411.58 billion baht.

Agricultural and agro-industrial shipments fell 26.9% to $1.94 billion as customers delayed purchases and gained more price bargaining power amid rising competition, especially for rice, said Mr Siripol.

Rice shipments declined 15.9% to 735,048 tonnes valued at $406 million, down 38.1%. Rubber volume fell 19.6% to 169,162 tonnes worth $229 million, down 21.7%.

Imports slid 34.7% in May to $9.25 billion, producing a trade surplus of $2.4 billion. (Bangkok Post)

I wrote one month ago, after figures for april were published :

If exports stay at the same level in may… the % of change year on year would be -34 %. I expect a small rebound. In any case, we should keep the pace of a minus 25 % year on year.

And previously, about february :

Everything is simple. Only the suckers don’t want to see, don’t want to understand.

Book it : in march, Thailand will, gently and with a smile, go back to the “minus 25 %” group.

Where are the suckers ? The I-Want-To-Believe ? The clowns who live in RecoveryLand ? Their existence is tied to the Recovery, the Holy Grail.

But don’t forget : everything is fine. The Green Shoots Salad (or the “Rebound Soup” or the “Recovery Goulash”) is delicious. Abhisit is handsome. The recovery will come end 2009. Sure. The weather is nice. And please, don’t forget to take a loan and to buy a new condo. And a new car.

(The Bank Of Thailand will publish the details for exports on june 30).

7 Responses to “Green Shoots Salad : exports crashed 26,6 % in may”

  1. 1 antipadshist 20 June 2009 at 12:29 am

    competative currency devaluation continues …

    BoT to prevent the baht from being too strong

    The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has promised to prevent the Thai currency being too strong against the country’s export competitors, Santi Vilassakdanont, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said on Friday afternoon.

    and this Baht devaluation shows in the ever increasing prices of everything, now too fast to not notice.

  2. 2 Fonzi 20 June 2009 at 1:25 am


    I think you provide an invaluable service.

    Here is the Thai media modus operandi:

    Ignore the economy.

    Focus on shady bus deals. Or focus on the drama of Thai politics like a Thai lakhon without substance.

    Thaksin is evil.

    Abhisit is handsome and cuddly like a new born panda bear, so he can do no wrong.

    People need to wake up. This economic crisis looks even worse than the 1997 crisis.

    Three things pulled Thailand out of the 1997 crisis fairly quickly:

    Cheap baht
    Tourists can in droves.
    World-wide demand was still strong, because the civilized world at that time was in an economic boom.

    This time around:

    Expensive baht
    No tourists
    Political crisis
    No world-wide demand
    No domestic demand
    Swine flu

    Next week, Abhisit is going abroad on a George Clooney tour, trying to sell Thailand like George trying to sell a bad movie on the Tonight Show.

    Abhisit isn’t selling a $120 million dollar movie; he is selling a half-arsed student film made using betamax.

    Even if there was international demand for Brand Thailand(you can stop laughing now), the investment rules for the country are so idiotic, very few with any business sense would want to invest money here.

  3. 3 antipadshist 20 June 2009 at 1:53 am

    Asia Relies Too Much On Western Economies

    An over dependence on western economies, too much independence for the financial market as well as Asia’s reluctance to use its huge reserves are the main cause of the prolonged economic crisis, a forum was told Friday.

    Dr Narongchai Akrasanee, chairman of the board of directors of Export-Import Bank of Thailand, said an imbalance in the world market was created with the United States consuming too much while Asian countries depended heavily on the world’s largest economy.

    Furthermore, he said Asian countries are too scared to use their huge reserves, citing China’s US$1.5 trillion and Thailand’s US$30 billion.

    We have huge reserves, but our regulators don’t know how to use it. They are attracted to financial products in the western countries and we invest there, not in our own.

    “But the westerners are using it revive their economy and then speculate on ours,” he said at the Sixth Asean Leadership Forum here.

    The former Thai Commerce Minister said such reserves should instead be used to invest in domestic economies to spur intra-regional trade and reduce dependence on the United States market.

    According to Narongchai, Asian countries held US$1.64 trillion in US Treasury Securities at the end of 2008, or 53.2 percent of the total foreign ownership

    The impact of the current crisis was illustrated by Dr Chieanchuang Kalayanamitr, the chairman of Maxon Systems and former economic advisor to the Thai Government, who said about 10 million poor Thais would be severely affected

  4. 4 Lothar 20 June 2009 at 9:28 am

    “and this Baht devaluation shows in the ever increasing prices of everything, now too fast to not notice.”

    Hmmm, not sure about this one.

    I’m living in Thailand and like a thai. This means i eat “Nam Prik” and 3 times a day rice. I drink Lao Khao for Sanook and the only import is my computer (hobby) equipment.

    In fact it is cheaper (you get more rice for 5 baht) now then in Juli 2008 before i left Thailand for a 10 month break to germany.

    But somebody must enlighten me about what exports they are talking here. What else then Food has Thailand to offer? Yes they managed to get car manufactures to produce here (with there upto 340% import tax – illegal to WTO standards) but this is an import-assemble-export game so the exchange rate is not that important.

    If they don’t want to depend on western economies where is the huge try to make competitive products designed by thai engineers (oh this word alone is a joke). It’s incompetence at all levels of industrial product generation. Thats why asia still depends on the west.

    Even china isn’t there. There last try to build a computer CPU resulted in a design about 5x worse then 5 year old technologie. And they had licensed the patents for the CPU. It’s a mentality problem. China are good traders but definitely not producers and this will continue for 50-100 years (2-4 generations).

  5. 5 jeplang 22 June 2009 at 9:35 pm

    TC,could you explain why Thailand has the lowest productivity of rice [tonnes per hectare] of any Southeast Asian nation?

    Data I saw for the year 2000 listed Thailand at the bottom at an average of 2.7 tonnes per hectare ,nearly half of Vietnam’s productivity,which was 4.2 tonnes per hectare,if I remember.

  6. 6 ThaiCrisis 22 June 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I don’t have detailed figures, but it’s a well known fact that thai productivity is low (for rice).
    There are several reasons I believe :

    -first a reason of “social and political” philosophy : better to have a lot of people up country harvesting rice, rather than being unemployed. An army of slaves are doing the work, and then a small army of middlemen rip the benefits from the rice trade
    -then several technical reasons :the issue of land ownership, the access to financings (to buy machines etc.)

    So it’s clear that Thailand has a “untapped” reserve there… But a higher productivity would come at a price….

  7. 7 Wrigley 4 July 2009 at 6:19 am

    Agree on the causes for lack of productivity. The rural sector has traditionally been ignored in terms of investment and political focus (unless it means fighting communism). There could also be a fear among the elite about how productivity affects employment? From my readings, Thailand has always had more land than other SEA countries so they were never forced into an situation of having to increase productivity per rai of land; they always did it by opening up new plots. This situation, however, is long over, perhaps this is why productivity is not going anywhere.

    As to why your rice is cheaper than before–global and domestic demand has dropped off (my guess–global crisis) so with less demand prices experience a corresponding decline. It is also possible that you are paying less because they think you are a handsome guy and will some day marry their daughter, in which case they recoup the money later ;-)The effect works two-ways of course, you have more baht because you spend less on rice, but the rice sellers also have less baht so their purchasing power declines.

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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