TNSC outlook unchanged amid global uncertainties

TNSC outlook unchanged amid global uncertainties

Bangkok Port added new giant cranes earlier this year to support growing exports.
Bangkok Port added new giant cranes earlier this year to support growing exports.

The Thai National Shippers' Council (TNSC) is maintaining its 8% export growth projection even as shipments in April grew by 12.3% year-on-year, marking growth for the 14th consecutive month.

Yesterday the TNSC reported imports in April rose by 20.4%, giving the country a trade deficit of US$1.28 billion (40.9 billion baht) in April.

The export volume from January to April grew by 11.5% year-on-year in dollar terms and 0.58% in baht terms to 120 billion baht because of a strong baht. An appropriate rate for exporters is 33 baht per dollar, said the council.

Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, the TNSC chairwoman, said Thailand recorded the second-highest growth in Asean for April shipments after Vietnam because the two countries have solid fundamentals.

The TNSC believes a trade war in the second half this year is a risk to the global economy, and will maintain its export outlook.

Ms Ghanyapad said the projection is based on a stronger baht of 31.5 per US dollar.

Thailand's export markets will expand thanks to a positive outlook for the world economy. The oil price hike, hitting the highest level in three years, is the key factor raising purchasing power in oil-producing countries, but consumer goods have to increase in line with oil and commodity prices.

Risk factors requiring close monitoring are the trade war between China and the US, and the uncertainty over the US's trade barriers on Thailand's exports. A volatile baht could bring the exchange average to 31.9-32.2 baht per US dollar, said the council.

Conflicts in the Middle East and sanctions on Iran will raise oil and LPG prices, along with expected increases in production and logistics costs. Non-tariff barriers in some countries will affect exports, such as Vietnam's non-tariff barrier for imported cars.

"Thailand's export growth goes to some clusters, not to the overall segment, so the government should monitor farm product prices to help farmers gain more income," she said. The added value of processed agricultural products should be part of the 20-year national strategy, said Ms Ghanyapad.

"The growth forecast in the second quarter will be around 10%, driven by higher export volumes from farms and industry," she said.

Separately, Ms Ghanyapad called for the government to resolve a Customs Department announcement, issued under 134/2018 on Section 6 on electronic customs protocol related to the data submission process for shipping under the National Single Window. From May 8, documents must be submitted at least 24 hours before shipping.

She said the new requirement will create a cost burden for exporters of 416 million baht from higher warehousing costs. The Export Council will discuss the matter with the Customs Department very soon, said Ms Ghanyapad.

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