FTI: 19 sectors see virus impact

FTI: 19 sectors see virus impact

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) forecasts 19 industrial sectors will be affected by the coronavirus outbreak in terms of export volume and logistics systems from Thailand to China.

Supant Mongkolsuthree, the FTI's chairman, said the epidemic has both positive and negative outcomes from a business perspective.

"Five sectors can take advantage of this situation -- garments, textiles, medical devices, leather products and industrial crafts -- because of massive demand for virus protection tools, such as face masks, hand sanitiser gel and clothing," he said. "These sectors will receive higher purchase orders and expand their markets by replacing China."

Mr Supant said 13 industrial sectors are suffering from the virus outbreak: saw mills, jewels, rubber, furniture, cosmetics, auto parts, petrochemicals, cars, refineries, chemicals, plastics, electronics and herbal products.

"Chinese importers will postpone their purchase orders while Thai manufacturers cannot import raw materials from China," he said.

"Fewer Chinese tourists in Thailand means lower tourism income."

Mr Supant said only the pharmaceuticals sector has not been impacted by the epidemic because the virus is treated by imported drugs.

"Business operators have witnessed a huge impact from the coronavirus outbreak, especially tourism and export sectors," he said. "The economic impact from the virus resulted in low purchasing power, as did a widespread drought, and the FTI plans to cut its GDP projection for 2020."

The FTI reported the Thai Industries Sentiment Index (TISI) in January increased slightly to 92.2 points from 91.7 in December, thanks to massive sales of products to prevent infection.

Mr Supant said the index is still below the 100-point benchmark, meaning business sentiment is low.

"The slight increase was from an acceleration to produce consumer products after the New Year holiday," he said.

The Chinese New Year holiday in January raised demand for food and beverages.

"Operators are still concerned about the delay of the fiscal 2020 budget and the resulting impacts on budget disbursement, state investment and new employment."

FTI forecasts the TISI will stand at 99.4 over the next three months, down from an outlook of 100.1 as operators fret about sentiment.

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