Thailand’s construction material exports in the first quarter of this year grew over 60% year-on-year to US$2.9 billion due to higher demand, particularly for steel.
International Trade Promotion Department Director-General Srirat Rastapana said the country’s overall export value is expected to reach at least $10.7 billion this year, representing a rise of 10 percent year-on-year. Steel accounts for 5.2 percent of the country’s overall exports.
Steel exports in Q1 were valued at more than US$2.2 billion, an 83 percent increase, mostly to Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, and India, respectively.
Srirat said the construction materials volume exported to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam tends to be higher due to infrastructure investment expansion in each country to welcome the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic community in 2015, particularly Myanmar.
Thailand currently is a strong player as a steel module exporter. However, Srirat said if Thailand has its own upstream steel industry, it would depend less on raw material imports of copper and scrap, for prices in both categories tend to fluctuate and become higher in the world market.
For strategies to push the steel trade higher, the Thai government will try to promote and speed up negotiations on opening more markets with other countries, in particular for steel and other related products, while trying to expand such trade in the markets where infrastructure investment expansion is already focused.
Meanwhile, Srirat said Thai entrepreneurs should strengthen their competitiveness in terms of producing steel construction products of good quality or of new design in order to add value to their merchandise.