Thailand’s border and transit trade value increased by 19.3% year-on-year to 384 billion baht in the first quarter this year, driven mainly by trade with Malaysia and rising demand for Thai rubber.
Transit trade refers to the transport of goods through more than one country.
Of the total figures, exports from Thailand totalled 226 billion baht, up 20.5% from the same period last year, while imports rose 17.7% to 158 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of 68.4 billion during the first three months, according to the Foreign Trade Department.
Trade with Malaysia, including transit trade, saw the highest value of 146 billion baht, up 26.7%, followed by Laos, up 34% to 144 billion. Meanwhile, trade with Cambodia declined by 3.76% to 47.5 billion and trade with Myanmar fell by 7.07% to 45.7 billion.
Department chief Keerati Rushchano said growth in trade was mostly driven by economic recovery in Malaysia and rising demand for Thai rubber exports to produce rubber gloves.
China and Japan are also importing more rubber to produce car tyres, he said.
Considering that border trade measures only exchanges with four neighbouring countries, the department said the total trade value amounted to 223 billion baht, up 9.57%, with exports expanding by 12.1% to 136 billion and imports rising 5.38% to 86.2 billion.
The department also added that transit trade with other countries, including Singapore, Vietnam and southern China, totalled 161 billion baht, up 36.1%, with exports rising by 36.1% to 89.5 billion and imports rising by 36% to 71.3 billion in the first quarter of the year.
Meanwhile, transit trade with southern China fetched the greatest value at 67.2 billion baht, followed by Singapore (26.1 billion), Vietnam (16 billion) and other countries such as the US, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea (51 billion each).
Major exports to China include rubber and fresh, chilled, frozen and dried fruit.
Thailand also exported computers, circuit boards and circuit breakers to Singapore and non-alcoholic drinks, semiconductors, transistors and diodes to Vietnam.
The main imports from China, Singapore and Vietnam include farm produce and materials used in the electronics and chemical industries.