Thailand Country profile

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In 2017, Thailand was Australia’s 9th largest trading partner, making up 3% of Australia’s total trade. Exports of goods and services reached A$5.8b in 2017 made up largely of gold, coal, aluminium and coal. But there has been a significant increase in demand for Australian fruit—Thailand is a major market for blueberries, strawberries and mandarins. On the other side of the ledger, there have been an estimated A$17.2b worth of imports from Thailand in 2017, dominated by passenger motor vehicles, tourism and heating/cooling equipment.

Looking ahead Australian exporters could benefit from the strong growth in the e-commerce market, currently growing at 12.4% p.a.. Thai demand for electronics will also benefit from the construction of a national broadband network under the “Thailand 4.0” policy.

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Of the A$5.8b export receipts, services contributed A$1.3b driven by education exports. Thailand is Australia’s seventh largest source of international students in 2017—with 30,560 enrolments in 2017 (4% of total).

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The volume of Thai tourists visiting Australia has risen strongly over the last two years, likely driven by the steady appreciation of the Bhat against the AUD.

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In terms of foreign investment stocks, Thailand is a marginal investor in Australia, owning a portfolio of just A$3.1b in 2017 (less than 0.1% of the total foreign investment stock). Australia’s largest investors remain traditional markets—the US with A$897b, and the UK with A$481b.

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Thailand is a minuscule destination for Australian investment abroad (0.2% of the total in 2016). Australia’s investment in Thailand rose to A$4.5b in 2017 from A$3b in 2014. The US (A$665b) and UK (A$333b) remain the leading destinations for Australia’s foreign investment.

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