THE THAI NATIONAL Shippers’ Council has revised up its forecast for this year’s export growth to 2.5-3.5 per cent from its earlier estimate of 2-3 per cent.
The more optimistic forecast is based on first-quarter export expansion of 4.88 per cent year on year, said TNSC chairwoman Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong.
She said the council now estimated that this year’s export value would reach US$220 billion (Bt7.58 trillion), up 3.4 per cent from a year earlier, and set a full-year official forecast in a range from 2.5 to 3.5 per cent.
In March, export value advanced 9.22 per cent year on year, its five-year high, to $208 billion. In the first quarter of this year, the figure rose 4.88 per cent year on year to $564 billion.
Rises in global crude-oil prices resulted in exports of agricultural and petroleum-related products seeing improvement, while Thailand’s trading partners have seen signs of economic recovery, Ghanyapad said.
Second-quarter export growth is expected to be close to 5 per cent, and the third and fourth quarters are projected to see steady exports despite risks, she said.
For the latter half of this year, Thai exporters remain concerned over political tensions in various regions, uncertainties over US policies including on trade balances, and anti-dumping and non-trade barriers (NTBs), she said.
Technological changes also affect consumer behaviour, which prompts higher consumption through e-commerce and will change the trade model in the future, she said.
Exporters anticipate that performance in the latter half might not be as bright as in the first half of this year and measures should be |prepared to cope with the situation and |relieve operators in each industry, Ghanyapad said.
Efforts should be made to lessen the chance for other countries to employ NTBs against Thailand and development of an e-commerce trade strategy should be accelerated domestically and internationally, she said.
As well, there should be emphasis on moving forward bilateral trade negotiations with Thailand’s major trading partners including the United States to avoid NTBs, she said.
A niche-market strategy should be proceeded with and a plan for trade facilitation should be drawn up in line with the World Trade Organisation to avoid risks and ease concerns in the second half of this year, she said.
In response to US President Donald Trump’s invitation for talks with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the White House, Ghanyapad said this reflected US acceptance of Thailand at a certain level and it might be a chance for trade negotiations, particularly regarding America’s trade deficit with Thailand.
The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking early this week revised its 2017 export-growth forecast to 2-3.5 per cent, up from an earlier projection of 1-3 per cent. It cited improvements in the economies of the US and Europe.