Food exports forecast to expand by 8.4% this year

Food exports forecast to expand by 8.4% this year

Thai food prospects remain promising, with exports forecast to grow by 8.4% this year driven by higher global demand and a rise in the prices of commodities, energy and logistics.

According to Anong Paijitprapaporn, director of the National Food Institute, food exports are expected to fetch 1.2 trillion baht this year, which is likely to be a new record for food exports.

The forecast was made on the assumption that the baht averaged 33.50 baht per US dollar, with global economic growth of 4%, the crude oil price at US$100 per barrel and a global food price rise of 3.5%.

"The main supporting factors are rising demand after the world population has received more Covid-19 vaccine coverage and higher immunity," she said.

"Tourism and related services businesses like restaurants and hotels are gradually recovering after concerns about Covid-19 began to ease, more relaxation on state safety measures and the baht's weakness."

The Thai Chamber of Commerce, the National Food Institute and the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) issued a joint announcement yesterday that food exports rose by 11.8% last year to 1.107 trillion baht or $34.89 billion, up 11.5% a year before.

Thailand remains the 13th largest food exporter in the world, unchanged from the previous year.

Better-than-expected results were attributed largely to eased concerns about the Covid-19 impact, loosening of tough safety measures by Thailand's key trading partners leading to more robust economic activities and demand for food from the restaurant and hotel service businesses.

The baht's depreciation also offered positive results for the food export sector.

However, the market share of Thai food exports in the world market dropped to 2.3% in 2021 from 2.32% in 2020.

Last year, the country's food exports increased in most markets except the US, Africa, Oceania and the UK.

Currently, China is the top importer of Thai food with a 24.5 % share valued at 271.674 billion baht, up 50% from the previous year.

In 2021, agricultural products and food raw materials export volume tallied 506.97 billion baht, up 25.5%, accounting for 45.8% of total food exports, up from 40.8% the year before.

Processed food exports amounted to 600.48 billion baht, up 2.4 %, making up 54.2% of overall food exports, down from 59.2% the previous year.

Food export products that saw an increase in trade volume include tapioca starch (+34.3%), shrimp (+10.8%), coconut products (+7.7%), seasonings (+13.3%), ready-to-eat food (+7.7%) and pineapple (+ 31.5%).

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