98 export firms shut down in Q1
- Published: 23/04/2013 at 02:04 PM
- Online news:
A total of 831 companies reported to the Ministry of Commerce that they were ceasing business in March, of which 31 were export firms, Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikuar said on Tuesday.
Altogether 98 companies shut down in the first quarter of the year, 42 in January, 25 in February and now 31 in March, the minister said.
However, more than 900 new exporters registered with the ministry during the same period.
Of those that went out of business in March, 17 were garment and coffee seed exporters, six were exporters of metal and metal ores, six were exporters of consumer goods and two were exporters of frozen seafood, he said.
Mr Nattawut said that 19% of the firms that closed blamed the baht’s appreciation, while 39% shut down because their business was doing badly.
He did not say why the remaining firms decided to stop doing businesses.
The minister said he had directed the Department of Business Development to closely follow the situation to assess the impact of the government’s 300 baht daily wage policy on manufacturers and come up with necessary assistance measures.
In total, 909 new export firms registered with the ministry during the first quarter - outnumbering those that shut down by 10-1.
Tthe number of new registered companies in the first quarter was up 20% on the same period last year to stand at 19,600, with a total capital of 97 billion baht, an increase of 15%.
The number of businesses that closed down over the period totaled 2,697, down 3%, with a total registered capital of 9.23 billion baht, a decline of 1%.
Thanawat Phonvichai, director of the Economic and Business Forecasting Centre at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said on Tuesday that manufacturers polled recently were worried by the baht’s persistent appreciation.
He said the poll sought the opinions of 600 manufacturers nationwide, from April 9-19 when the baht was rallying at 28.80-29.10 baht to the US dollar.
According to the poll’s results, 38.1% said the then-value of the baht was moderately suitable, but 33.3% of them said it was not suitable at all.
Some 42.1% of the respondents said the strengthening baht affected their business, particularly trade competitiveness, and 23.8% said it brought down their export volume and profit margin.
Slightly more than 30% of the polled manufacturers agreed a suitable level for the baht would be 30.48 baht to the US dollar.
They could withstand the baht’s appreciation to the 29.18 baht level, they said. But If the Thai currency strengthened, to between 27 baht and 27.90 baht to the US dollar, 12.4% of them would have to lay off workers, while 9.8% would be forced to go out of business.
The manufacturers called on the government to come up with measures to curb the Thai currency's fluctuation and oversee its value to keep it between 29 baht and 30 baht to the US dollar.
They also said the Bank of Thailand should lower its fee on currency exchange transactions, help find financial sources to provide low rate soft loans for affected manufacturers, or cut the key policy rate and curb the massive influx of foreign direct investment.
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