Saturday July 21, 2012
Thai exports likely expanded 4.25% in June
BANGKOK: Thai exports may have increased 4.25% in June from a year earlier, a Reuters poll showed, as manufacturing production continues to recover from last year’s devastating floods, but the slowing global economy could limit demand in coming months.
The worst floods in at least 50 years badly hit electronics and car firms, many of them big exporters. Thailand is the biggest carmaker in South-East Asia, the world’s No. 2 producer of hard disk drives and the top rice exporter.
Car firms have fully recovered and the Industry Ministry said most industries should be back to normal in the third quarter of this year or early in the fourth.
Factory output grew 5.53% in May from a year before, its first annual rise since the flooding, which forced several huge industrial estates to close from October.
“As manufacturing capacity returns to pre-flood levels, we are likely to see sequential improvement in export orders. But the global economy is suppressing the demand side of the story.
“Without this factor, the numbers would have looked better than this,” said Santitarn Sathirathai, an economist at Credit Suisse in Singapore.
Exports make up more than 60% of gross domestic product each year; industrial goods usually account for 65% of shipments.
Despite the improvement in production, the central bank said last month that global economic woes and the eurozone crisis in particular were likely to hold down exports in coming months.
It recently trimmed its export growth forecast for this year to 8% from the 9.2% predicted in May, after a 16.4% rise last year. But the Commerce Ministry still predicts a 15% increase for 2012.
Exports to the United States rose 10.9% in May from a year before, those to the eurozone 6.8%, to Japan 5% and to China 22.3%.
Imports probably rose 13.35% in June from a year earlier, helped by imports of capital goods for post-flood reconstruction and expansion. — Reuters