The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) Center for International Trade Studies projects Thai exports as growing at 2.4 – 5.6 percent in the second quarter of 2011, compared to the first quarter, and the value of the country’s exports is expected to reach US$54-56 billion.
Center director Aat Pisanwanich said exports will continue to grow in the second quarter after the Export Composite Leading Index in February stood at 101.3 – an increase of 0.16 from January.
The center also said that Thai exports this year will grow 12.4 – 16.5 percent and the export value will reach US$249-227 billion, falling from 28.1 percent growth last year.
A positive factor supporting exports in the second quarter was expansion of global production despite the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The disaster in Japan is not likely to have much impact on the world economy but will affect Thai exports of autos, rubber, and electronics in the short term.
Meanwhile, Japan will need more imports of food, agricultural and consumer goods because farming areas in Japan were severely damaged while China, the US and Netherlands remain as Thailand’s competitors.
He said negative factors affecting Thai exports are high oil prices, which impact both the production and transportation sectors. It is estimated that oil prices will stay at US$100-120 per barrel and may reach US$150 per barrel in some future period due to turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa.
The situation must be closely monitored as the impact will be realized in the coming months. Thai exports to Libya dropped by 22.7 percent and to Egypt by 17.3 percent.
The impact on exports from the disaster also must be kept under close watch. Southern floods affected Thai rubber and shrimp exports in the second quarter.
Thai baht strengthening, which may reach 30 baht per dollar is not considered a risk factor for exports now, he said, reasoning that all currencies in the region are in a strengthening trend, so it does not affect Thailand’s competitive capability and its exports still experienced favorable growth. (MCOT)