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Third quarter looking good for export growth

Exporters are salivating over stronger trade expansion this quarter, thanks to the recoveries in the European Union and United States, while worrying that fuel prices pushed up by the conflicts in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East might subdue global economic growth and trade.

Based on the Commerce Ministry's survey of 205 exporters, the Trade Policy and Strategy Office found almost half believed trade would pick up more in the third quarter. Of the rest, 44 per cent expect no change in growth and only 7.5 per cent are resigned to a slowdown.

Amparwon Pichalai, director of the office and an adviser to the ministry, said yesterday that most exporters had received more orders from overseas than in the last quarter.

"This is a positive sign showing that Thai shipments will grow larger in the present

quarter, and ensuring that exports will achieve 3.5-per-cent expansion this year," she said.

Traders also said they would increase imports this quarter to serve manufacturing growth and higher demand for exports in the future.

The export projection index has continued to improve to 70.4 points this quarter, reflecting higher confidence. A reading above 50 means a positive export outlook.

Expected to do even better are electrical appliances, electronics, automobiles and parts, plastic and plastic products, steel, iron and steel products, chemical products, textiles, rubber and rubber products, tapioca, vegetables, and can-ned, processed and frozen fruit.

Imports in the first five months declined by 14 per cent to US$94.41 billion, or 6 per cent to Bt3.07 trillion, on the weakening of the baht and the sluggish global economy. But imports will likely bounce back in the second half as trade increases, the ministry believes.


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