Joint panel's trade view decays as global virus fallout deepens

Joint panel's trade view decays as global virus fallout deepens

Export contraction of 5-10% now expected

Shipping containers sit ready for export at Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri.  Apichart Jinakul
Shipping containers sit ready for export at Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri.  Apichart Jinakul

Thai exports in 2020 are likely to contract by 5-10%, worsening from an earlier projection of a 2% decline, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak's effect on the global economy, says the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB).

The export outlook depends on the financial health of other world economies, but the committee is confident in the government's ability to prevent a second-wave outbreak and start an economic recovery, said Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the JSCCIB and the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The JSCCIB predicts that GDP this year will shrink by 3-5%, with inflation in the range of -1.5% to 0%, down from an earlier view of 0.8% to 1.2%.

"The JSCCIB expects that the government's economic stimulus packages will jump-start the domestic economy to grow with support from the government's measures to cope with the Covid-19 outbreak," Mr Supant said. "The group has an overall positive outlook and has not cut these figures further, compared with the IMF's forecast of a 6.7% contraction for Thailand."

The joint committee forecasts an improved economy in the second half of the year because the government has eased lockdown measures and will roll out stimulus measures.

"The lockdown measures will ease more over time, further reopening the economy, and the government's 1.9-trillion-baht stimulus package will have a more positive effect," Mr Supant said.

Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), expects the government to further ease lockdown measures in the second phase.

"The government is calling a meeting among business associations, including the FTI, the TCC (Thai Chamber of Commerce) and the JSCCIB this Friday to discuss details about easing the lockdown measures in the second phase," Mr Kalin said. "The JSCCIB is happy the government will continue to ease the lockdown."

The committee asked for cooperation with its members in the private sector to continue promoting work from home for another month in line with government guidelines.

The panel also joined with the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce to conduct a new feasibility study of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

"The JSCCIB expects the committee to conclude the study of negative and positive effects of joining the CPTPP in May," Mr Kalin said.

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