FTI: Trade war pummels electronics
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) says the US-China trade war is hurting exports of electronics and components after overall shipments of these products fell by 11.3% year-on-year to 347 billion baht during the January-April period.
Gritsada Suptuaychone, vice-chairman of the FTI's electrical, electronics, telecom and allied industries club, said China cut purchase orders from Thai exporters after the US began imposing tariffs on Chinese products in early 2018.
"These include electronics and components normally shipped to China for reassembly and reproduction before exporting from China to others," he said. "When the trade war turned more intense, Chinese importers reduced their purchase orders because their facilities have cut their output due to this issue, as have electronic manufacturers in other countries."
Thailand is a part of the global supply chain for electronics and components. China is a global producer of finished electronics products and exports to the US.
According to the club, Thailand exports electronics and components to the US, Hong Kong, China, Europe and Japan and the trade war is hurting all export destinations for these products.
"The US has also cut purchase orders from Thai shippers and the global economy is bearish," said Mr Gritsada.
The value of shipments to the US for January to April stood at 72.08 billion baht, down 11% year-on-year. The value for shipments to Hong Kong was 53.99 billion baht, down 13.3% in the period.
Export value to China plunged 21.5% in the first four months to 32.73 billion baht.
The shipment of home appliances during January to April still performed a slight increase of 0.74% year-on-year to 258 billion baht, driven by new demand from Japan and the US.
The home appliance exports to Japan stood at 45.40 billion baht for the period, up by 21.92%, while those to the US increased by 13.74% to 35.99 billion baht.
"Thai-made home appliances are likely to grow because many products are related to computers, information technologies and software, products that develop rapidly, so consumers have to change or replace products frequently," Mr Gritsada said. "Thailand is the manufacturing hub for refrigerators and air conditioners, including spare parts for the global market."
With the trade war issue, the country's shipment of electronics, components and home appliances is likely to miss the club's projection at a 3% rise for 2019.