Thailand : Trade Balance, Exports and Imports (Jan-Mar 2021)

For trade figures for 2020 go here :

Trade is very important and a major component contributing to the GDP of Thailand. The first half of 2021 saw a resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, with improvement in the number of infections from August onwards.. This after a period in 2020, when Thailand appeared to have been spared of the worst effect of the pandemic. So hopes of recovery of the Thai economy were high for a while. Even the tourist sector was expecting improvement, which did not come. [1 November 2021 has been choses as the date to allow in tourists with less restriction than before]

Trade data for the first three quarters of 2021 are encouraging for the overall economy.

For the Januari to September period of 2021, trade has done relatively well, likely better than expected.. Total trade value increased by 22.65 % to 324.173 billion U.S. Dollar, when compared to the first quarter of 2020. Export value increased by 15.46 % to 199.998 billion U.S. Dollar, while import value surged 30.90% to 197.981 billion U.S. Dollar.

Trade was very well balanced this time just positive by 2.017 billion U.S. Dollar, compared to a positive balance during the first 9 months of 2020 of 21.971 billion U.S. Dollar.

Exports, Imports, Trade Balance, and Total Trade of Thailand. For the Januari to Sept period of 2021, compared to the same period of 2020. In million U.S. Dollars.


When looking at trading between Thailand and its major partners, we see persistence of long existing trading trends. There is a positive trading balance with the neighboring ASEAN countries and the U.S.A. There are much more imports from China then there are exports to China, and a similar pattern with Japan. Trade with Europe is very balanced. but total trade with that area is rather modest.

The positive trade balance with the U.S.A. widened a lot further, from 13,376 billion U.S. Dollar in the first three quarter of 2020 to 19,924 billion U.S. Dollar in the same period of 2021. There were both more exports to the U.S.A. and less imports from that country. Luckily Thailand escaped trade sanction during the previous American administration.

The negative trade balance with China widened further, mainly because of more imports from the country, while Thai exports increased more modestly.

The trade balance with Europe modestly positive. With Japan we saw a widening of the negative trade balance, mostly because of more imports from the country.

Exports to and Imports from Thailand's major trading partners. Comparing first three Quarters of 2021 with same period of 2020.


Export value increased modestly by 15.46 % in the Jan-Sep period of 2021 (compared to 2020). Export categories as shown below and the main export categories remain essentially the same as in previous periods.

Car and car parts exports increased by more than 6 billion U.S. Dollar, so the automobile sector has recovered a bit from poor results in 2020. Rubber products and raw rubber export value has increased a lot, because of a demand for rubber gloves and other rubber medical equipment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Actually, exports in all major categories increased, and usually by a substantial number. There is one notable exception : the Precious Stones and Jewelry category (including Gold Bullion) where a big decrease in exports was noted.

The reason for decreased gold exports can be explained as follows : in 2020 Thai people sold a lot of gold in one of the many gold shops around Thailand. This gold was then exported, mainly to Switzerland. In 2021, Thai people apparently sold less gold.. This is one of the 'strange' components of Thai exports and imports, we discovered just the last few years. Precious Jewelry exports to Switzerland were 6,913 million U.S. Dollar first 9 months of 2020, compared to only 601.4 million U.S. Dollar in same period of 2021. It may suggest that Thai people have become more trustworthy about the economy and their well being, or maybe they just ran out of gold and jewelry to sell.

Value of exported products from Thailand, first 9 months of 2021, compared to same period of 2020.



Percentual Change in Export Value for Thai Exports for different categories. Comparison between first 9 months of 2020 and 2021.



Resources : Data as provided on the website of the Ministry of Commerce