TNSC predicts 3-5% growth in 2021 forecast

TNSC predicts 3-5% growth in 2021 forecast

The Thai National Shippers' Council expects Thai exports will rebound to 3-5% growth next year, driven by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact, Covid-19 vaccine progress and a fast economic recovery in China.

Chairwoman Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong said on Tuesday the figures are based on the council's "conservative forecast" for 2021 exports.

The growth is possible "if export volume averages between US$19.6 and $20.04 billion per month next year," she said.

More exports are expected in part because Thailand is joining the RCEP, with the population of member countries totalling 2.2 billion, or 30% of the global population, and trade volume exceeding $10.4 trillion in value.

Rising exports of food and medical supplies, higher global oil prices and improved economic prospects for China are also factors.

Ms Ghanyapad said there are risk factors that will obstruct exports. They include the baht's appreciation, container shortages, higher freight rates and new outbreaks in the US and Europe that will affect container transport.

High "implicit costs" for exporters due to outdated and redundant regulations and strict environmental standards to be imposed by trade partners, notably the US and European countries, next year are also a point of concern.

"The government should restructure to reduce implicit costs related to manufacturing and export," she said.

Officials should speed up use of National Single Window system, which links data among 37 state agencies and 18 banks, for faster customs procedures, said Ms Ghanyapad.

The council upgraded its forecast for the country's exports to a 6-7% drop this year, an improvement from a 10% contraction predicted in July, because the global economy has made a gradual recovery, as evidenced by Thailand's higher outbound shipments in many markets.

If the country fetches $19.3 billion a month in the remaining months of the year, annual exports are likely to see a contraction of less than 7% this year, she said.

The Commerce Ministry reported last month customs-cleared exports fetched $19.4 billion in October, down 6.71%. Imports dropped 14.3% in October to $17.3 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $2.05 billion.

For the first 10 months of 2020, Thai exports contracted 7.26% to $192 billion, while imports dropped 14.6% to $169 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $22.6 billion.

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