Exports tipped to stay strong next year amid global recovery, stable oil prices

Economy November 23, 2017 01:00


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EXPORTS are expected to post growth of at least 6 per cent next year, sustained by a recovery in global trade and steady crude oil prices, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said it will keep a close watch on the risks from the US Federal Reserve’s decisons on benchmark interest rates and developments in the Middle East that could affect oil prices.

October exports climbed 13.1 per cent year-on-year to US$20.083 billion (Bt655 billion), marking the eighth monthy increase in a row. 

 For the first 10 months of this year, exports rose 9.7 per cent year-on-year to $195.518 billion or the highest in six years.

The ministry expects export growth for 2017 of between 9 and 10 per cent to US$235 billion.

Pimchanok cited recovery in manufacturing products for the higher-than-targeted monthly export growths since the beginning of this year. 

These products came mainly from foreign companies that had decided not to relocate their manufacturing bases to other countries, but expanded their investments here instead. 

Thailand's manufacturing product exports grew 13.8 per cent in October, led by a 63.2 per cent surge in rubber products, 42.0 per cent increase in finished oil products and a 25.9 per cent jump in automobile, equipment and components. 

For the first 10 months of this year, manufacturing product exports edged up 8.9 per cent.

Agricultural product and agro-industry exports advanced 9.6 per cent in October from the previous month, representing a 12th consecutive rise, led by rubber's 23.5 per cent surge, tapioca products' 15.6 per cent increase and 10.5 per cent growth in frozen and processed chicken. For the first 10 months of this year, agricultural product and agro-industry exports went up 14.8 per cent.

“(Exports of) agricultural products - particularly vegetables, fruits and consumer products have continued to grow satisfactorily. Nuturing them should be promoted with strategic plan for price diversification if there's volatility in the global market," Pimchanok said.

She also urged processing of agricultural products for added value as the export prices of Thai agricultural products have declined and some of them were no longer in the top 20 for high-value products.

“ Natural disaster 'El Nino’ would pose risks to this group next year which could lead to drought and, as a result, lower production," she said.

Due to its robust economic recovery, the European Union is the top destination for Thai exports with shipments to the region increasing 28.9 per cent in October. 

Thai shipments to the United States rose 11.1 per cent, while those to Japan inched up 6.3 per cent.

Exports to China jumped 17.2 per cent duirng the month and those to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) advanced a combined 11.4 per cent.