Merchandise exports rose by just 3.2% in US dollars last year. The
value of rice exports shrank by 28% because the subsidy on the domestic
purchase price pushed Thai rice prices well above international levels.
Exports of automobiles increased by 26%, but those of electronic products
edged up by just 0...
Imports outpaced exports, rising by 7.8% in US dollars, in part a
result of capital equipment purchased to replace that damaged by the
floods. Consequently, the trade surplus shrank by half to $8.3 billion
(Figure 3.30.5). Insurance payouts after the floods contributed to a
narrowing in the services trade deficit, but the sharply lower trade surplus
meant the current account surplus fell to 0.7% of GDP.
The capital and financial account recorded a substantial surplus,
largely because of net portfolio inflows and loans to businesses. The overall
balance of payments remained in surplus, and gross international reserves
rose by 3.7% to $181.6 billion, cover for 10 months of imports.
Higher capital inflows contributed to 6% appreciation of the Thai baht
against the US dollar in 2012. The central bank indicated it would further
liberalize outward foreign direct and portfolio investment, partly to take
pressure off the baht. The Stock Exchange of Thailand index of share
prices climbed by 35.8% over last year, and yields on government bonds
generally declined. Housing prices showed modest gains.
Source: Bank of Thailand. http://www.bot.or.th (accessed 11 March 2013)
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