The continued decrease in Thai exports doesn’t come as surprise for the following reasons:
- Soft commodity prices have declined (remember rice and rubber?)
- As a result of the 2011 floods, several manufacturers took their insurance payouts and shut down business
- Thailand’s major electronics export was Hard Disk Drives – Well we’re all one smart phones/tables/computer sales are down and even so most have shifted to Solid State Drives
While Thailand has grappled with political instability and record flooding in recent years, rivals including Vietnam and the Philippines have seen exports climb. Investment proposals for infrastructure have been delayed for months by violent unrest that ended when Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the former military chief, seized power in a May coup.
“It’s possible that exports will lag behind other countries in the region like Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines which used to trail us in the past,” said Santitarn Satirathai, a Singapore-based economist at Credit Suisse Group AG. “We have obsolete technology and other structural problems that we must fix. The question is, can Thailand do enough to keep attracting foreign and domestic investment. It is quite worrisome.”