In 2016 Thailand was Australia’s 14th largest trading partner, making up 1.4% of Australia’s total trade. Exports reached A$4,685m in 2016 made up largely of crude petroleum exports, gold, aluminium and coal. But there has been a significant increase in demand for Australian fruit—Thailand was Australia’s largest mandarin export market in 2016. On the other side of the ledger, there have been an estimated A$16,564m worth of imports from Thailand, dominated by passenger motor vehicles, 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.
The volume of Thai tourists visiting Australia has been consistent since 2004. Though the depreciation of the AUD against the Bhat could be behind the increase since 2015.
Australia also exported approximately A$1,215m of services to Thailand in FY2017 — of which A$806m was education exports. Thailand is Australia’s fourth largest source of international students — with 30,400 enrolments in 2016 (4% of total).
In terms of foreign investment stocks, Thailand is a marginal investor in Australia, owning a portfolio of just A$3.1b in 2016 (less than 0.1% of the total foreign investment stock). Australia’s largest investors remain traditional markets — the US with A$860b and the UK with A$515b. But regional flows are expanding quickly — ASEAN contributed 4% of inward foreign investment flows in 2016.
Thailand is a minuscule destination for Australian investment abroad (0.2% of the total in 2016). Australia’s investment in Thailand rose to A$4.4b in 2016 from A$2.9b in 2014. The US (A$617b) and UK (A$350b) remain the leading destinations for Australia’s foreign investment.