Thailand’s manufacturing production index lowest in 16 months

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BANGKOK, May 28 – Thailand’s Manufacturing Production Index (MPI) in April plunged to its lowest in 16 months to 159.16, a reduction by 3.8 per cent, the Industry Ministry reported today.

Somchai Harnhirun, director-general of the Office of Industrial Economics, said a series of holidays in April and the region’s currencies weakening against the baht were major factors resulting in the slipping MPI.

Some industries slowed down their production in April to avoid power blackout during the maintenance of the Yanada natural gas platform in Myanmar, one of the electricity suppliers to Thailand.

Hardest hit by the strengthening baht were industries which exported at least 60 per cent of their production, including hard disk drives, ready-to-wear clothing, processed seafood and electronics parts.

He said January-April imports increased 8.6 per cent, mainly on capital products, raw materials and semi-finished products.

Auto industry production in April was 17.53 per cent higher year-on-year while hard disk drive manufacturing increased by only 17.12 per cent due to some companies’ relocations of plants and machinery to Singapore.

Production of electronics tubes and parts dropped 5.48 per cent owing to global economic slowdown while the Semiconductor Industry Association reported a global Q1 growth of electronics parts at only 0.9 per cent year-on-year.

Mr Somchai said the high temperature and real estate expansion have contributed to a growth in air-conditioning products by 2.87 per cent while food processing and seafood products industry suffered a manufacturing drop by 23.71 per cent, mainly from a decline in the frozen shrimp industry.

Manufacturing of ready-to-wear clothings slid down by 13.96 per cent due to less orders from Europe, the US and Japan and Thai manufacturers’ relocations to neighbouring countries.