Thai export growth at least 5% this year

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BANGKOK, March 26 – Thailand enjoyed a growth in exports in February after a few months of stagnation, the Commerce Ministry said today.

Srirat Rastapana, permanent secretary for commerce, said last m

Last month’s import volume was US$16.596 billion – a 16 per cent decline compared to the same period last year, contributing to a US$1,767 billion surplus.

The Commerce Ministry predicted an export growth in Q2 in accord with successive expansion in Thailand’s significant markets, especially in such major export industries as electronics goods, electrical appliances and automobiles.

Exports in the agricultural and agro-industrial sectors, however, declined in the past few months.

Exports in Q1 will be either stagnant or slightly lower but Q2 performance should improve with 3-4 per cent growth, and 6-7 per cent growth in the last two quarters, said Ms Srirat.

She predicted this year’s exports to expand 5-7 per cent.

Imports declined last month. Gold imports in high volume last year resulted in a slowdown this year.

The Commerce Ministry said this year’s exports will expand at least 5 per cent on the assumption of global economic growth at 3.7 per cent as forecast by the International Monetary Fund.

Global prices of raw materials will fetch up 1.3 per cent and exchange rate at Bt31.5 against the dollar. The current rate is Bt32.79.

Thailand’s exports should significantly expand 10 per cent without the political impasse, she said.

Risk factors affecting exports are volatile global oil prices due to political conflicts among oil-producing countries and volatile exchange rate after the US Federal Reserve’s adjustment of economic stimulus.

Ms Srirat said drought will push up prices of agricultural produce while the political stalemate has negatively impacted buyers’ confidence in ordering goods from Thailand.