FTI: Exports likely to miss target at 5%
US-China trade spat to blame yet again
Thai food exports are projected to grow by only 5% this year, missing the 8% target projected earlier in the year, thanks to weak global demand and the deepening trade row, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
Visit Limlurcha, chairman of the FTI's food industry club, said Thai food exports are estimated to fetch 1.08 trillion baht this year, down from the projection of 1.12 trillion.
"The trade spat will hurt global purchasing power and the world economy is suffering," said Mr Visit, also vice-chairman of the Thai National Shippers' Council (TNSC).
"Another key negative factor is foreign exchange, as the baht has been stronger than the currencies of Thailand's competitors for the past two years, making Thai exports less competitive."
He said Thai food exports are expected to see more non-tariff barriers and increasing measures from importing countries to tackle their trade deficits.
"The government should inform exporters as soon as possible once new measures are introduced by importing countries so that Thai exporters can prepare for the situation in time," said Mr Visit.
Last year Thai food exports rose by 1.6% in baht terms to 1.03 trillion baht.
Thailand was ranked No.12 in the world market, up from 14th in 2017. Rice made up the largest share of exports at 17.5%, followed by chicken, sugar, processed tuna and shrimp.
The biggest export market was Japan, followed by China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Prasit Boondoungprasert, chief operating officer for international trade and business development of SET-listed Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), said the intensified trade row has delivered a knock-on effect to CPF's business, in addition to the volatile exchange rate, weak global demand and Brexit impasse.
CPF has coped by developing more innovative, healthy and natural products, which signal a promising trend globally, he said.
Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber Commerce, said Thai food exports are likely to maintain growth bolstered by innovation.
Thai exporters are capable of producing foods in line with the world's trends, including health, organic and environmentally friendly products, he said.
Banjongjitt Angsusingh, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said despite myriad challenges Thai food exports are still managing to grow this year, given Thailand's rich raw materials, innovative products and the government's "Kitchen of the World" policy.
On Tuesday the department, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Koelnmesse kicked off the sixth edition of Thaifex-World of Food Asia at Impact Muang Thong Thani, which runs until Saturday.
The event is one of the largest for Asia's food and beverage industry, with more than 2,700 exhibitors from 42 countries. The fair features venues for products and services, exhibitions and business exchange platforms between manufacturers, exporters and partners from around the globe.
More than 130,000 visitors are expected to join the event, with sales volume generated estimated at around 11.5 billion baht.