Exports to take a hit if political impasse continues

Economy April 30, 2014 00:00

By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
The N

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Thailand's shipments may grow only 0.25 per cent this year if the political impasse continues into the fourth quarter of the year, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) has forecast.

Meanwhile, to drive export growth, the Commerce Ministry will hold a meeting with Thai trade counsellors from overseas next month to draw up plans to achieve this year’s export target of 5 per cent.
The UTCC has projected the value of Thailand’s  exports at US$16.21 billion due to the political problem, which will also see Thailand lose overall market share in the world.
Aat Pisanwanich, director at the International Trade Studies Centre, said the political mess is a major factor in ruining Thai export capability as foreign traders have low confidence to order goods from Thailand.
“Thai government agencies would also have low capability to promote export growth due to lack of full financial support and clear policies to drive export growth in the long run,” said Aat.
However, in the normal scenario, if the political mess ended within the second quarter, Thailand’s shipments ill grow between 2.06-4.77 per cent (an average of 3.4 per cent), worth $233.23 billion to $239.43 billion.
In the worst-case scenario, market share of the country will continue to drop from last year’s 1.3 per cent, while other countries, particularly Asean rivals with similar exports such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, will enjoy a larger market share,” said Aat.
 The centre has reported that Thailand has continued to lose market share in global trading to other Asean countries. In the first nine months last year, Thailand’s market share in global trade was 1.4 per cent, but in the final quarter last year, the market share dropped to 1.31 per cent. Malaysia’s market share went up during the same period from 1.38 to 1.44, Indonesia from 1.11 to 1.15, and Vietnam from 0.06 to 0.08 per cent.
If the political mess ended in the third quarter of the year, exports would grow by 2.33 per cent this year.
Based on the UTCC’s projection, the global economy is expected to expand 3.6 per cent this year. The baht is expected to weaken to Bt32.76 to Bt33.52 against the US dollar.
Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said after hearing comments from Thai exporters the department was still confident of exports growing 5 per cent this year.
Following the expected delay in budget allocation for the next fiscal year (October 2014 to September 2015), Nuntawan said the department would carefully draw up export promotion strategies and activities for next year.
To promote food export growth, the department will organise the Thaifex: World of Food Asia 2014 from May 21-25 at Impact Muang Thong Thani.