BANGKOK, May 27 – Thailand’s Q1 exports of industrial products reached US$43.091 billion, expanding by 7.04 per cent, the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) reported.
OIE director general Somchai Harnhirun said the export value, converted into Thai currency at Bt1.2 trillion, increased by only 3.14 per cent.
The lower percentage growth in baht terms was due to the successive appreciation of the Thai currency since early this year, he said.
The surging baht has diminished Thai exports of industrial products by over Bt55.156 billion, or 4 per cent.
He said Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) this year will decrease by Bt52.672 billion if the Thai exchange rate remains at Bt29 against the dollar.
The strong baht will affect Thailand’s short-term competitive edge particularly with countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, China and South Korea, Mr Somchai said.
He said the yen’s depreciation by 16 per cent has compelled many Thai exporters to drastically reduce the prices of their products being shipped to Japan.
Some of the country’s major products have suffered diminishing income from exports including electronics products at Bt9.670 billion less, auto products at Bt5.5 billion lower, electrical appliances at Bt6.780 billion lower and foods at Bt5.756 billion lower.
The OIE chief said the surging baht has been a good opportunity for Thai industrialists to import capital products and machinery to boost their manufacturing capabilities.
Imported products from Japan have been cheaper by 20 per cent, he said, adding that the strong baht has also paved the way for Thai investment abroad.