Thai shippers foresee export growth missing target


BANGKOK, Jan 30 – Thailand’s appreciating baht currency in the past month has affected exports despite a 2-3 per cent growth as targeted, according to the Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC).

TNSC Chairman Paiboon Polsuwanna said today that exporters continue to received purchase orders but the total export value has been lower and some exporters are earning less profit.

He said Thailand’s exports this year may not reach the projected nine per cent growth if the baht continues appreciating.

The Commerce Ministry predicted the country’s monthly export value at US$20.5 billion but the combined value this month is only $19 billion, Mr Paiboon said.

He said January is normally a slow month for exports and the TNSC will wait for the first quarter performance before it forecasts Thailand’s exports year.

Thai exports last year reached $229.5 billion, representing a 3.12 per cent increase, lower than the predicted growth of 4.6-5.9 per cent, the shipping council executive said.

The private sector looks forward to seeing the central bank’s response to preventing profit-taking from a local interest rate at 2.75 per cent, as interest is almost zero per cent in western countries.

Mr Paiboon also called on the Bank of Thailand to see that the baht does not fluctuate or becomes too strong compared to the currencies of the country’s trading competitors.

The Labour Ministry has announced reduced contributions by employers and employees to the Social Security Fund from 1.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent until the end of this year in an attempt to cool down the negative impact of the Bt300 daily minimum wage.

Regarding the reprieve, the TNSC chairman said the ministry was barking up the wrong tree since the private sector’s financial gains from the measure is insignificant.

It may give a psychological advantage to the government, which is seen as taking prompt action to alleviate the entrepreneurs’ plight, he said, calling on the government to seriously upgrade the efficiency of Thai labour force and promote the use of technology in the industrial sector to enhance Thailand’s competitive edge in the global market.