Industrial production index, output on uptrend
The Industrial Production Index is expected to move up by 5-6 per cent this year and industrial output by 3.5-4.5 per cent, according to the Industrial Economics Office.
Risks include slippage in the US and EU economies, appreciation of the baht, higher wages and volatile oil prices. Positives include growth in exports to Asean and other Asian markets, mild inflation and shallow interest rates.
The production index in January stood at 175.97, a jump of 10.1 per cent from last year in the wake of the great flood of late 2011. Director-general Nattapon Nattasomboon said yesterday that the improving index indicated that the quarterly index would grow at the same rate as January's.
Auto production in January surged 68.1 per cent year on year to 236,025 units and is expected to zoom 42.5 per cent to 711,662 units this quarter. Output for the whole year is expected to be up 14.8 per cent to 2.8 million units, of which 1.6 million units will go to the domestic market. The full-year forecast is 5 per cent higher than the office's original forecast of 2.55 million units.
About 1.25 million vehicles were sold under the government's first-car scheme, of which 723,000 or 58 per cent have been delivered to buyers. About 231,000 cars are expected to be delivered this quarter.
Steel production went up 8 per cent to 560,000 tonnes in January, while consumption rose 8 per cent to 1.44 million tonnes. The growth rate is expected to stay at 8 per cent this quarter. State construction has been expanding since the second quarter of last year.
The production index of electric and electronics industries in January edged up 4.43 per cent on the government's stimulation of domestic demand.
Fabric production rose in January to serve demand of local and overseas markets, especially Japan and Asean.
But garment production dropped because of the lingering economic problems of the United States and the European Union. Garment exports declined 5 per cent.
The food production index shrank 5.4 per cent and food exports plunged 18.1 per cent. The index is forecast to shrivel 4.7 per cent this quarter because of the EU's economic problems. Food exports this quarter are also expected to fall 31.1 per cent in line with declining domestic sugar production.