December MPI marks the lowest level in 28 months
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December MPI marks the lowest level in 28 months

Thailand's Manufacturing Production Index (MPI) fell by 8.19% year-on-year in December last year to 93.98 points, the lowest level in 28 months, as the world economy contracted.

The full-year MPI managed to climb 0.62% year-on-year to 98.32 points, said Warawan Chitaroon, director-general of the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE).

"Many countries grappled with the economic slowdown and weak purchasing power," said Mrs Warawan, adding that Thailand's export markets in the US and the European Union turned sluggish, which led to lower orders for goods.

Capacity utilisation in December stood at 59.6%, down from 61% in November. For the whole year, capacity utilisation was 62.6%.

The OIE expects the 2023 MPI to decrease due mainly to the global recession, high energy prices and the strong value of the baht, which would affect the country's export sector.

The office earlier predicted MPI growth in 2023 would be in a range of 2.5-3.5% while GDP growth in the industrial sector would be between 2.5-3.5%.

Officials plan to adjust the forecast this month because of those negative factors.

However, the tourism industry is expected to keep growing, driven by more foreign tourist arrivals.

"The government remains positive that the economy will grow further and become healthier than that of last year, following the tourism recovery and the automotive industry growth," said Mrs Warawan.

In December, car manufacturing expanded by 2.06% year-on-year, thanks to higher demand in the pickup and passenger car categories. Auto exports were also good this month.

Beer production rose by 3.6% year-on-year due to growing tourism industry and the World Cup broadcast.

Palm oil manufacturing grew by 33.4% year-on-year due to the increase in palm oil output.

Petroleum production also increased by 2.06% year-on-year, thanks to growing demand for jet oil and gasoline after the government fully reopened the country and oil refineries resumed operations after maintenance.

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