Thailand is Australia’s ninth largest trading partner, making up 3% of Australia’s total trade. Exports of goods and services reached $7.8 billion in 2018, consisting mostly of crude petroleum, gold, aluminium and coal. But there has been a significant increase in demand for Australian agricultural products in recent years, including beef, milk, barley and wool. On the imports side, Australia purchased $17.9 billion worth of goods and services from Thailand in 2018, dominated by passenger motor vehicles, tourism, heating and cooling equipment and seafood.
Looking ahead, Australian agriculture and consumer-oriented exporters could benefit from the strong growth in Thailand’s e-commerce market. Development of railways, roads and port infrastructure in Thailand also offers opportunities for Australian exporters of energy, transport, telecommunications and mining services and equipment.
Services contributed $1.3 billion to total export receipts, supported by rising Thai demand for Australian education and tourism. Thailand is Australia’s eighth largest source of international students, with 28,000 enrolments in 2018 (3% of total).
The number of Thai tourists visiting Australia has risen strongly over the last three years, in part supported by the steady appreciation of the Thai baht against the Australian dollar.
On investment, Thailand is a small investor in Australia, owning a portfolio of $6.9 billion in 2018 (0.2% of the total foreign investment stock). Australia’s largest investors remain traditional markets—the US with $940 billion, and the UK with $575 billion in 2018.
Australian investment in Thailand is similarly small at close to $4 billion in 2018 (0.2% of the total). The US ($719 billion) and UK ($408 billion) remain the leading destinations for Australia’s foreign investment.