Thai ex­ports may shrink by 15% this year

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - Foreign News -

BANGKOK: Thai­land’s ex­ports may con­tract by 15% this year as the coro­n­avirus pan­demic hits global de­mand and a stub­bornly strong baht adds to pres­sure, a Thai ship­ping as­so­ci­a­tion said.

Ex­ports, a key driver of Thai growth, slumped 15.2% in the sec­ond quar­ter from a year ear­lier and 7.1% in the Jan­uary-june pe­riod.

The ex­port pic­ture in the third quar­ter would be sim­i­lar to the sec­ond pe­riod as the global econ­omy has yet to re­cover, Ghanya­pad Tan­tip­i­pat­pong, chair­woman of the Thai Na­tional Ship­pers’ Coun­cil, told re­porters.

While the group keeps its 2020 ex­port target of mi­nus 10% for now, Ghanya­pad said there were more neg­a­tive fac­tors than pos­i­tive ones and it was there­fore pos­si­ble that ship­ments could fall by 15%.

That would be the sharpest de­cline since the com­merce min­istry started com­pil­ing records on ex­ports in 1992 and com­pares with a 14.3% drop in 2009, dur­ing the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

The baht was at 31.05 per US dol­lar at 0710 GMT, a month high. The cur­rent level is much stronger than the 33-34 per dol­lar level needed to help ex­ports, Ghanya­pad said.

“We want to shout to the cen­tral bank to help take care of it,” she said. “The Thai econ­omy is not bet­ter than the global econ­omy but why the baht keeps strength­en­ing?”.

The cen­tral bank pre­vi­ously said the strength of baht could hurt the re­cov­ery of South-east Asia’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy which it pre­dicts will con­tract by a record 8.1% this year. — Reuters

Ex­port down: A worker stands next to ship­ping con­tain­ers on a ship at a port in Bangkok. Ex­ports, a key driver of Thai growth, slumped 15.2% in the sec­ond quar­ter from a year ear­lier and 7.1% in the Jan­uary-june pe­riod. — Reuters

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