Rising exports in June were driven by growth in all key sectors, particularly agricultural and agro-industry products, which increased by 48.9 per cent.
Exports in the first six months of 2011 were a record US$114.9 billion (B3.4 trillion), a 23.6-per-cent increase on the same period last year, Mrs Pornthiva said.
Exports to key markets grew by 19 per cent on average, led by Japan, whose imports from Thailand grew by 38 per cent. Shipments to secondary markets increased by 11.4 per cent.
As for imports, these accelerated almost as fast as imports – 26.1 per cent year-on-year, to a total of US$19.8 billion (B594 billion). Rises were recorded in all categories, highlights being increases of 38.3 per cent in raw material, 22.4 per cent in capital goods and 20.1 per cent in energy products.
Imports in the first half of 2011 were valued at more than US$111.5 billion (B3.3 trillion), a 28.5-per-cent growth compared with the first six months of 2010, giving Thailand a trade surplus of more than US$1.26 billion (B38 billion) in June and nearly US$3.45 billion (B104 billion) in the first six months.
Cross border trade also hit records of $76.6 billion in June, up 8.2 per cent, $446.1 billion in the first half, a 14.8-per-cent increase.
Mrs Pornthiva warned that some risk factors need to be monitored, including oil prices, a possible global rise in commodity prices, the baht exchange rate, interest rates and labour shortages.
The Japanese government’s economic-recovery policy to deal with its economic recession in the second half of this year after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami is another risk factor.
Following the global economic recovery, Thailand, as one of the world’s leading producers of agricultural produce, holds an advantage, Mrs Pornthiva said.
She urged the incoming Pheu Thai government to continue to support Thai exports, while expressing her confidence that export growth for the whole year will reach 20 per cent or more.
She said that she did not want to put pressure on the new government, but urged it to oversee every product item, particularly those made by the smaller companies; to take full advantage of free trade agreements; and to provide market channels overseas, particularly for electronic goods.
She predicted that Thai exports would continue to grow this year despite the “economic quagmires” in the US and Europe, because the Commerce Ministry has been searching out new markets for Thai products in the past two years, both regionally and beyond.