Minister claims strong baht forced 29 export firms to close

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BANGKOK, May 8 – The surging baht compelled 29 Thai exporters to close their businesses last month, while applications for new company start-ups dropped by 17 per cent, Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikua said today.

He said 4,781 new companies were registered in April, a significant decline from the 5,753 companies in April 2012.

Mr Nattawut blamed it on the strengthening baht since late last year and said 127 companies have suspended their businesses in the past four months.

Twenty-five of the hardest hit companies exported auto parts, agro products, machinery and garments, with two each in the consumer products and pharmaceutical businesses.

More businesses will close their doors this month if the Bank of Thailand and its Monetary Policy Committee fail to take action on the policy interest rate which resulted in the appreciating baht.

He said 24,454 companies newly-registered in the first four months of this year mostly involved construction, cardboard box manufacturing and auto parts.