TNSC forecasts 12% export increase
The national shippers' council has raised its export growth forecast to 12% this year from 6-7% made in May and 3-4% in December, helped by the global economic recovery and a return of economic activities after a widened coverage of vaccinations among major trading partners.
According to Chaichan Chareonsuk, chairman of the Thai National Shippers' Council (TNSC), the global economy has undergone a strong recovery, especially Thailand's major trading partners such as the United States, China, the European Union (EU) and Japan.
The progress in vaccinations also helped build up people's confidence and the resumption of economic activities, he said.
"The country's export outlook is expected to continue growing in the remaining months of the year boosted by recovering demand in foreign markets after vaccinations against the Covid-19 pandemic have risen, while the domestic situation has eased due to the relaxation of the state's tightened lockdown and curfew measures," said Mr Chaichan.
"Oil prices are also expected to become stable and higher than last year's level, driven by an increasing demand for oil worldwide, especially in Europe and the US."
However, to achieve 12% growth this year, Thailand has to fetch an average of US$20.85 billion a month, he said.
Despite the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, Thai exports are maintaining their growth momentum, surging by 20.2% year-on-year in July.
The Commerce Ministry recently reported customs-cleared exports reached a value of $22.65 billion, with imports increasing by 45.9% to $22.47 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $183.46 million.
It was the fifth consecutive month of increases, after gains of 43.8% in June, 41.6% in May, 13.1% in April and 8.47% in March, following a 2.59% contraction in February.
The increase was boosted by the robust economic recovery across the globe, the depreciation of the baht, rising oil prices and export promotions by the Commerce Ministry and the private sector.
For the first seven months of 2021, exports expanded by 16.2% to $154.99 billion while imports rose by 28.7% to $152.36 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $2.62 billion.
Mr Chaichan said exporters still fret over risk factors such as high Covid-19 infections in the country, notably in the industrial factories which may affect production capacity.
Other risk factors are relatively high freight rates, with the rates expected to continue to maintain an upward direction until the Chinese New Year next year, said Mr Chaichan, adding exporters have also still been facing container management problems at the ports and shipping delays.
The closing of the Meishan Island Container Terminal at China's Ningbo-Zhoushan Port due to Covid-19 cases has led the shipping lines to change their schedules causing increasing density at nearby ports.