According to Mr Suwit Maesincee, the deputy commerce minister, attributed the drop to the continued fragility of the world economy accompanied with the continued drop in global oil prices which now stands at its lowest point in 11 years.
He said Thailand’s export in January of this year fell by 8.9%.
January’s exports only amounted to US$ 15.7 billion which means that the country’s exports have suffered a sustained 13 month contraction.
But he said more worrying is the fact that January’s exports are also the lowest in a period of two years and two months.
Most badly affected are agricultural sector whose exports continue to decline as shown by rubber exports which have fallen by 25% and tapioca falling by 19%.
But despite all of this Thailand still managed to keep its market share with its important trading partners and there are strong indications that the country’s service sector exports will expand.
He said Thailand has plans to focus on increased innovation in this sector to increase value and one such plan is converting regular food exports into medical dietary products.
Food produce export figures for 2015 excluding livestock feed produce showed a contraction of 1.9 %.
Food exports in 2015 amounted to almost 900 billion baht. Rice exports fell significantly both in volume and value and estimates for 2016 are for a continued drop with only nine million tons of rice available for exports.
This is an 8% drop from 2015 stocks and is due entirely to the severe drought problem afflicting the country.
The overall export outlook for the entire food sector for 2106 remains promising however and it is expected that the sector will be able to generate 950 billion baht in exports which will mean a 5.8% expansion.
This stems from the success of official efforts to create new markets for the country such as the Middle-East.
Other important driving factors are the increase in government spending on state sponsored projects, increased investment in the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) market and increased focus on innovation by processing already established agricultural and food products to increase their value.