Shippers urge Thai govt for fund to help exporters

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The Thai National Shippers’ Council will submit a formal request to the government to consider setting up a Bt100-billion fund to help Thai exporters.

Thai National Shippers’ Council president Nopporn Thepsitta said he was concerned at the baht currency’s direction even though the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) reduced the benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percent on Wednesday.

He viewed that the lowered interest rate should not significantly affect foreign currency inflows and that the baht could be at risk of further fluctuation.

The fund, he said, is meant to encourage competition among Thai exporters. The council is studying where the money should come from. The fund’s functioning would be similar to those the government uses in other projects such as the rice pledging scheme or projects for other forms of agricultural produce.

The Thai National Shippers’ Council still maintains its export forecast at 4.92 percent for this year although the Commerce Ministry lowered its projection from 9 to 7-7.5 percent.

That the council believes that Thai exports will tend to decrease this year was due to the baht fluctuation and the still strong baht currency, despite its recent depreciation, when compared to currencies of other competitor countries.

Nopporn said the Thai government has so far no clear measures to deal with the export problem and should make it a national agenda.

An urgent matter for government action, he said, is to allocate a budget of Bt20-30 billion as a currency hedge for exporters so the baht can be maintained at Bt30 to the dollar, while it should impose more measures to curb the baht’s rise.