Commerce Ministry keeps export growth target

Commerce Ministry keeps export growth target

Uncertainty over health of US and Chinese economies remains a wild card

Container ships are berthed at Laem Chabang Port in Chon Buri. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Container ships are berthed at Laem Chabang Port in Chon Buri. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Ministry of Commerce still believes the country’s exports will grow by 1% to 2% this year, a senior official said on Thursday, amid slowing global demand.

The ministry is working closely with the private sector to achieve the goal, permanent secretary Keerati Rushchano told a news conference.

While exports are believed to have bottomed out, there are still uncertainties over the US economy and China’s recovery as well as currency volatility, said Chaichan Chareonsuk, chairman of the Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC).

In the first quarter of this year, the dollar value of exports declined 4.5% from a year earlier. The ministry said earlier that shipments might not rebound until the second half of 2023.

The ministry is expected to report April trade data next week.

A Reuters survey predicted exports would drop 1.9% in April from a year earlier, with imports down 4.6% year-on-year and a trade deficit of US$480 million for the month. The trade deficit in the first three months was $3.04 billion.

The TNSC earlier this month downgraded its export growth forecast for the year to a maximum of 1%. However, it still believes exports are unlikely to contract this year.

In addition to external risk factors, Mr Chaichan has said that the country faces high production costs, especially for electricity and energy, which fluctuate and affect the competitiveness of exported goods.

To achieve 1% export growth this year, export value needs to average $24.5 billion a month, the TNSC said, adding that good potential exists for food, agricultural and processed products as well as automobiles.

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