Thailand's overall industrial production index contracted by 3.2 per cent last year amid a 64.38-per-cent production utilisation capacity rate.
A 6.1-per-cent year-on-year decline in the industrial production index last month was attributed to lower output of vehicles, hard-disk drives, and canned and frozen seafood products, said Somchai Harnhirun, director-general of the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE).
The production index last quarter declined by 7.1 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2012 amid a 62.20-per-cent production utilisation capacity rate. This was attributed to a slowdown in exports in line with the sluggish global economy, coupled with weaker domestic consumption and demand for autos that led to lower vehicle outputs.
However, the OIE believes that gross domestic product this year could grow by 3-4 per cent if the current political unrest ends |within the next three months. |If this is the case, then the industrial sector’s GDP would fall by |0.4 per cent. A projected 0.4-|per-cent contraction due to postponed investments in the public sector would result in a total 1.1-per-cent dip in industrial-sector GDP, or a loss of about Bt50 billion in the industrial sector, Somchai said.
Meanwhile, the industrial production index this year is projected to grow by 1.5-2.5 per cent with the continuing support of Japanese investors who still prefer Thailand as a vital hub and gateway to support their future investments and business in this region, according to a survey by the Japan External Trade Organisation.
Vehicle production this year is expected to grow by 1.75 per cent to about 2.5 million units, of which 1.25 million will be allocated for the domestic market, a decrease of 5.74 per cent due to relatively weaker consumption, coupled with last year’s high sales figures. About 1.25 million vehicles are expected to be exported this year, up 11.51 per cent.
The electronics industry is projected to grow by 1-3 per cent after recovery signs late last year. The steel industry is expected to expand by 3.6 per cent this year, though that is dependent on the length of the current political unrest, which could delay numerous government infrastructure projects that use steel.
Meanwhile, the textile and garments industry should be able to grow, while the foods industry is projected to grow by 1-2 per cent this year, Somchai said.