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Importers' weak economies hit Kingdom's appliance exports: KResearch

Exports of electrical appliances grew fractionally at 0.72 per cent year on year during the first 10 months of 2013, totalling US$19.33 billion (Bt624.2 billion), held back by weak economic performance in major importing countries, Kasikorn Research Centre reported.



Despite that, growth in Asean helped save the situation, notably to the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) markets, to which exports grew by 27.6 per cent. KResearch projects a 0.4-per-cent gain in Thailand's overall 2013 electrical-appliance exports compared with last year, with a total value of $22.88 billion.

Looking ahead to 2014, several factors should support a brighter trend. They include higher shipments to CLMV markets - overall exports to Asean are expected to double - plus economic recoveries within major trade partners, as well as market opportunities due to the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament, which should boost demand for television sets and parts.

Given these positive factors, KResearch believes that exports of televisions will probably climb by 10.3-13.9 per cent in 2014, totalling between $3.1 billion and $3.2 billion. As for overall shipments of electrical appliances, the house projects growth of 3.3-6.3 per cent to a total expected value of between $23.63 billion and $24.32 billion.

Over the medium term, Thailand's electrical-appliance sector should continue to gain on foreign investment, since manufacturing activities are likely to be bolstered in preparation for the inception of the Asean Economic Community in 2015.

However, to attract further investment will be a tough job. Domestic issues have increasingly made Thailand less competitive; they include workforce shortages and rising operating costs, for example higher wages than in Indonesia and Vietnam. Thailand's attractiveness for foreign direct investment will also be conditional on new promotional policies by the Board of Investment expected to be released this month.


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