Panel expects export growth to ease

Panel expects export growth to ease

JSCCIB cites several global uncertainties

A durian vendor awaits customers at Si Mum Mueang market in Pathum Thani. Export growth in 2022 is expected to slow amid global uncertainties. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
A durian vendor awaits customers at Si Mum Mueang market in Pathum Thani. Export growth in 2022 is expected to slow amid global uncertainties. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) expects the country's export growth to slow for the remainder of the year as a result of several global uncertainties.

Despite strong shipment growth of 9.9% year-on-year in April, gains for the rest of the year would likely ease, said Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and chair of the JSCCIB meeting on Wednesday.

Given several global uncertainties, particularly the Russia-Ukraine war, the rising rate of inflation and oil prices, as well as food shortages in some countries, these factors could dampen the country's exports, said the group. Thai shipment growth could decline from the level recorded in the first four months of the year.

However, the JSCCIB still maintains its projections for the country's GDP growth rate and other economic measurements for 2022. The private sector kept its estimate for Thai economic growth this year at 2.5-4%, export growth at 3-5%, and inflation at 3.5-5.5%.

Even though there are signs of a slowdown in exports, the tourism sector would play a role in driving Thailand's GDP growth this year following the country's reopening, said the JSCCIB.

"We also maintain our estimate for foreign tourist arrivals in 2022 at 6-8 million," said Mr Sanan. "The forecast could be beat, supported by a rebound trend in the tourism industry contributed by both domestic and foreign travellers."

Foreign tourist arrivals exceed 1 million year-to-date. The "We Travel Together" hotel subsidy scheme has played a role in boosting the local tourism sector, he said.

Mr Sanan said the tourism sector should focus on the quality of foreign tourists. For example, Middle Eastern tourists have higher purchasing power because rising crude oil prices mean producing nations have more income, he said.

A group of investors from Saudi Arabia is coming to Thailand this month, providing an opportunity to promote the country's tourism, said Mr Sanan.

Some 200,000 visitors from Saudi Arabia are projected to visit Thailand this year. On average, Saudi tourists spend around 100,000 per trip per person, compared with an overall average of around 50,000 baht per trip per person.

In a related matter, a source at the Finance Ministry who requested anonymity said the ministry is maintaining its inflation forecast for this year at an average of 5%.

Inflation is expected to rise above 5% in the third quarter this year, before falling to 4% in the fourth quarter.

The ministry's inflation assumption is based on an average Dubai crude oil price of US$99.5 per barrel throughout the year.

The source said the global oil price, a major influence on inflation, has remained stable.

Thailand's inflation rate is lower than the rate in some European countries as the nation is a food producer, said the source.

The Thai government has also stepped in from time to time to prevent product and energy prices from rising too high, said the source.



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