Shippers cut 2020 export outlook from -8% to -10%

Shippers cut 2020 export outlook from -8% to -10%

Klong Toey port in Bangkok (Bangkok Post file photo)
Klong Toey port in Bangkok (Bangkok Post file photo)

Thailand's exports are expected to shrink 10% this year, deeper than the previous forecast of an 8% drop, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the strength of the baht currency, a shipping association said on Tuesday.

In the January-March period, the value of annual exports, a key driver of growth, fell 3.71% in dollar terms and declined 5.18% in baht terms, commerce ministry data showed.

Global demand has yet to recover and there is a risk of a second wave of the pandemic, which could lead to lockdowns in trading partners, Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, chairwoman of the Thai National Shippers' Council, told reporters.

"The strengthening baht is also making Thai products less competitive," she said.

The group will send a letter to the prime minister in a bid to help keep the baht at 34 baht per US dollar, Ghanyapad said.

The baht gained 0.2% to 31.05 against the greenback at 11.06am It 30.79 on June 24, the strongest since late January.

The central bank recently said the baht strength could affect an economic recovery and it would assess the necessity of implementing more steps to curb it.

In 2019, the economy saw a 2.65% drop in exports amid global trade tensions and a strong baht.

Visit Limluecha, president of the Thai Food Processors' Association, said a ban by some British retailers on Thai coconut products over the use of monkey labour had yet to impact trade much, but it would if other countries followed suit.

Thailand needs to urgently address the issue, he said, adding the country had exported coconut milk worth $411 million last year, mainly to the United States, Australia and Britain.

The commerce minister said monkey labour for commercial products was almost non-existent and he would discuss the issue with coconut producers on Wednesday.

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