February exports to see uptrend
Exports are expected to continue growing in February driven by the world's economic recovery ignited by the Covid-19 vaccine distribution, but the stubbornly strong baht remains a key worry, according to a shippers' organisation.
Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, chairwoman of the Thai National Shippers' Council (TNSC), said exports, a key driver of the country's economic growth, could fare better than 4% growth this year, as the overall global economy is on the road to recovery driven by the Covid-19 vaccine distribution among trading partners, especially in the US and China, and stimulus packages rolled out by many countries.
Global oil prices are in the uptrend, accordingly boosting the outbound shipments of products related to oil such as plastic pellets and chemicals, she said.
"Based on the latest export results in January, the growth is considered relatively high once volatile gold, oil and weaponry are excluded," said Ms Ghanyapad.
The Commerce Ministry reported on Feb 23 that exports rose for a second straight month in January, edging up by 0.35% from the same month of last year after a 4.71% year-on-year surge in December 2020.
Customs-cleared exports fetched US$19.7 billion in the first month of this year, with imports declining 5.24% to $19.91 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $202.39 million.
The global economic recovery, massive monetary and economic stimulus measures, as well as effective Covid-19 vaccines coupled with extensive vaccination, had supported export growth in January, according to the Commerce Ministry.
Excluding gold, oil, and weaponry, exports grew 7.57% year-on-year in January.
Ms Ghanyapad said the real sector is expected to continue recovering in exports this year, asking the government to help relax existing regulations to extend work permits for foreign workers in Thailand to ensure sufficient staff in order to cope with Thailand's economic recovery in the second half of this year.
"More importantly, exporters would like to see the baht value stay not less than 30 baht per US dollar. If the baht is averaged at 31-32 per US dollar, it will be good for export that will benefit the country's overall GDP," Ms Ghanyapad said.