Thai exports may miss target this year

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BANGKOK, March 27 – Thailand will possible miss the forecast export growth of nine per cent this year mainly due to the strengthening Thai currency, an industrialist said today.

National Shippers’ Council chairman Paiboon Polsuwanna said the Q1 baht appreciation by 4.5 per cent has slowed down production of major industries fearing exchange rate losses.

Industries which heavily depend on locally-produced raw materials in their manufacturing for export have become less competitive compared to other countries, he said.

Operators of small- and medium-sized enterprises have adopted various cost-cutting measures for survival while some have already closed down, he added.

Thailand’s exports in January were valued at US$19.5 billion, sliding downward from last year’s $20.5 billion and it is predicted that exports for the entire year will not reach the nine per cent growth target projected earlier by the Commerce Ministry, he said, adding that a clearer situation will appear in Q2.

He called on the Finance Ministry and Bank of Thailand to discuss measures to control short-term capital inflow and continued appreciation of the baht.