BANGKOK (AFP) — Thai auto exports plunged more than 50 percent in May owing to a continued slump in demand as the global financial crisis spreads, an industry group has said.
The number of vehicle shipments tumbled 54.69 percent year-on-year to 31,913 units, which equated to a drop in value of 52.8 percent to 15.2 billion baht (447 million dollars), the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said.
"As the global financial crisis had spread... demand has dropped by 40 percent in the key Thai export markets such as Australia, Asia and Europe. It is only in the Middle East that demands are still growing," the FTI said in its monthly statement.
In the first five months of 2009, Thailand exported 199,381 vehicles -- a drop of 37.88 percent compared with last year -- while the value of the industry's exports fell 36.73 percent to 91.8 billion baht.
The ongoing slump in car exports, as well as domestic sales, prompted the FTI to revise down its production targets for 2009.
It lowered the total auto production target by 32.57 percent to 940,000 units, compared with 2008's figure of 1.4 million.
The production target for exports was revised down by 34.94 percent to 510,000 units, compared with 784,000 units last year.
Exports account for 54.26 percent of total car production in Thailand.