Strong Thai baht reduces February exports nearly 6%

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BANGKOK, April 2 – Thai baht’s appreciation by nearly five per cent — 4.51 per cent — since June last year reduced the value of Thailand’s exports in US dollar terms by nearly six per cent — 5.83 per cent in February, according to a Bangkok business leader.

Paiboon Polsuwanna, chairman of the Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC), said February exports of US$17.928 billion was worth only Bt529.529 billion after conversion to Thai currency.

The export value in January-February was 4.09 per cent higher but after being converted to Thai baht, the value was reduced by 0.13 per cent.

Mr Paiboon said Q1 exports may slide downward due to the stronger baht though the shippers’ council earlier predicted this year’s export growth at 6.9 per cent.

The Commerce Ministry, however, has targetted expanded exports at 9 per cent.

To achieve the ministry’s goal, Thailand’s export value should reach US$20.5 billion each month but the latest official announcement was only US$18 billion, he said.

The TNSC chief said a power outage due to the maintenance of a natural gas platform in Myanmar this month will affect Thailand’s industrial sector by US$4.404 billion with the electronics industry affected most heavily by US$796.41 million, the auto industry at US$566.03 million, machinery and equipment at US$402.04 million and petroleum products at US$300.06 million.

Ratidanai Hoonsawat of the Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University, warned that the impact on exports will be more severe if the Thai baht appreciates by another 15 per cent to Bt27 against the US dollar

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