FTI fears small growth for Thai exports this year

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BANGKOK, 7 June 2012 – The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has expressed concerns that Thailand’s export growth in 2012 could be as low as 7-9% if the Eurozone crisis escalates. 

FTI Vice President Thanit Sorat said that the private sector is starting to see signs of a continuous slowdown in the country’s export sector as the January-April growth stood at an average of only 3.8%. In order to meet the government-set growth target of 15%, exports must be pushed to expand by over 23.5%, or a value of 32 billion dollars per month, during the 8 remaining months of this year.

Mr. Thanit went on to elaborate that if the Eurozone crisis eases up, it is expected that Thai exports will be able to grow by as much as 11%. However, if the problem intensifies, growth will be limited at around 7-9%. Although Thai exports to Europe only accounts for 9.6% of the country’s total export figure, the European debt crisis will still produce an indirect impact on Thailand’s trade partners, such as ASEAN, China, the US, Hong Kong and Japan, which are Thailand’s main export markets and absorb over 75% of Thai exports. Thus, he advised exporters to maintain their focus on the major markets instead of turning to emerging ones.

Additionally, Mr. Thanit views that the Thai private sector should turn their investment to neighbouring countries, such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, where labour wage is considerably lower than that of Thailand. The investment relocation will, at the same time, help entrepreneurs to reduce risk from the EU debt crisis, the political situation of Thailand and the government’s minimum wage hike policy.