Brighter outlook seen for Thai exports

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Thai commercial counsellors from 58 posts in 44 countries foresee negative export growth for Thai shipments this year, due to uncontrollable external factors, weakening economic growth in many emerging markets, and the fact that some Thai businesses have invested in overseas manufacturing operations, resulting in lower shipment value from the Kingdom.

However, despite the many negative factors affecting exporters, the Commerce Ministry is predicting a brighter export outlook next year, as it will encourage trade officials to drive growth under the government’s new outward investment and export promotion strategies.

Malee Choklumlerd, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said yesterday that despite the gloomy outlook for this year, the government would work more closely with exporters and trade officials with a view to deeper penetration of each foreign market.

“We will no longer [mainly] drive the export trade in goods, but will push both related service businesses and investment, with a view to generating sustainable income” she said.

For this year, the ministry agrees with the private sector that overall export growth is now likely be in a range of minus 2 per cent to plus 2 per cent, resulting in full-year shipments worth between US$210 billion (Bt7.28 trillion) and $218 billion, she added.

Exports to Asean are expected to slow from 7.4-per-cent growth last year to a contraction of 0.8 per cent, with shipment growth to the United States falling from 5 per cent to 1 per cent, exports to the European Union dropping from 1 per cent to between zero and 1 per cent, and sales to Japan from 1-per-cent expansion in 2015 to flat growth this year.

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said the Commerce Ministry, trade officials and private enterprises would this Friday map out export targets for next year.

Under the new export promotion plan, the ministry will focus on driving exports of services and goods in specialty market segments, including the ageing group, pet lovers, baby boomers, Hispanics, halal items, the super-rich, and online trading.

Overseas shipments will be promoted in accordance with the “Thailand 4.0” policy, with the emphasis on value-added and innovative products and services.

Ponpimon Petcharakul, Thai commercial counsellor in Hanoi, who represents the Asean market, said Thai exports to Asean would face a year-on-year decline of 0.8 per cent to $54.7 billion in 2016, as the regional grouping was largely comprised of production-based countries that were experiencing sluggish economic growth.

The export sectors most affected and facing a contraction in terms of Asean sales are garments and agricultural products, while some Thai enterprises have expanded their manufacturing to neighbouring countries, which also contributes to lower shipment value from the Kingdom, the counsellor added.

Next year, however, exports to Asean are projected to return to positive territory, expanding 2.5 per cent to $56.05 billion.

Napadol Thongmee, Thai commercial consul in New York, said export growth to the US would slow from 5 per cent last year to 1 per cent this year, despite the US economic recovery and upcoming presidential election, as people still have weak spending confidence.

For next year, exports to the US are projected to grow by 3 per cent, with sectors that are expected to exceed this level of performance being fishery products – following Thailand’s upgrade to the Tier-2 Watch List under the US “Trafficking in Persons Report” – canned fruits, vehicles and parts, and machinery.

Supawadee Yamgamol, Thai commercial counsellor in London, said Thai exports to the EU should grow 1 per cent this year to $22.16 billion, against a contraction of 2.4 per cent last year, due to the weakening of the pound following the country’s Brexit vote, which had resulted in higher prices for Thai goods and services sold to the area.

Chitvipa Sukpituksakul, Thai commercial counsellor in Osaka, said exports to Japan were now expected to post flat growth this year, compared to the previous target of 1-per-cent expansion, due to the country’s economic slowdown.

However, Thai exports next year are forecast to grow 1 per cent as a result of the Japanese government’s stimulus package, she said.

Meeting with trade officials to work out export strategies

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


IN A move to drive export growth next year, the Commerce Ministry will hold a meeting in Bangkok next month with Thai trade officials posted overseas to discuss export strategies.

Malee Choklumlerd, director-general to the International Trade Promotion Department, said the meeting would focus on addressing problems and draw on solutions and strategies to continue driving export for next year as shipments this year might miss the working target of 5-per-cent expansion.

“Exports next year should be brighter. The department will focus its export promotion plan on high value-added products, products from start-up entrepreneurs and high-value service,” she said.

The meeting with overseas trade officials is scheduled to be held during the September 7-11 Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair 2016, when they will be bringing foreign traders to attend the |event.

Malee said that for this year, the department will focus on adapting export-promotion strategies to go in line with the Thailand 4.0 Model and the 20-year national strategy, so shipments from the Kingdom grow in a sustainable manner amid the changing global landscape.

The country will not follow the same pattern for export promotion or focus only on products and raw materials. It will concentrate on exporting value-added goods and services, high-technology products, and innovative products from SMEs and start-up enterprises. This strategy will help boost income for the country in the long run, Malee explained.

Priority items on the agenda at the upcoming meeting will be the global trade situation, particularly the slow down in the Chinese economy, which has affected many countries. The meeting will also focus on international conflicts and whether Thailand should adjust its marketing plans to penetrate other potential markets.

Target markets for this year and next will include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, India, Russia as well as countries in Africa that have rising purchasing power.

However, there are still concerns about some negative factors that might affect Thai shipments over the next few years, including a global slowdown, terrorism, fluctuating exchange rates, low oil price and the impact of Brexit (UK voting to leave the European Union).

Private sector bullish about shipments over remainder of the year

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


MOST PRIVATE sector exporters are upbeat about the sector in the second half of this year, resulting in the Commerce Ministry maintaining its export growth target of 5 per cent for the year.

Malee Choklumlerd, directorgeneral of the International Trade Promotion Department, said exporters – mainly from agricultural sector – believed exports would grow stronger in the second half the year on the back of more supply and high demand in many markets.

“The ministry will maintain our working target of a 5 per cent expansion. Many industries have foreseen better export growth, while some predict steady growth. Only a few industries expect lower export growth compared in the first half of this year,” she said.

After a meeting with enterprises from various agro-industries and other industries this month, the department found exports from the agricultural and food sector are projected to expand from a previous projection of 1.9 per cent to 3 per cent for the year and be valued at US$33.93 billion [Bt1.2 trillion].

But exports from heavy industry are expected to decrease from the previous projection of 4.9 per cent to 3.1 per cent for the year and be worth $123.9 billion.

Fashion product exports are predicted to grow 0.6 per cent from the previous projection of 4.8 per cent and be worth $13.85 billion, while exports of lifestyle products are forecast to expand from 3.5 per cent to 4.9 per cent ($2.91 billion).

In agricultural sector, rice shipments are also forecast to grow in the second half of this year, with it predicted they could reach 9.5 million tonnes or a rise of 9 per cent for the year.

Sugar exports are expected to rise from the previous projection of 4 per cent to 20 per cent due to higher demand in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. However, exports of rubber and tapioca are forecast to drop about 10 per cent based on lower China demand.

In the food sector, exports are tipped to expand from 2.7 per cent to 5.2 per cent for the year.

Malee said that exports of frozen, canned and processed food was expected to grow 3.1 per cent or more after the United States upgraded Thailand’s status in its Trafficking in Persons Report, creating a better image for Thai products.

Shrimp exports are expected to grow from the previous projection of 4 per cent to 12 per cent, due in part to the lower supplies from rivals.

Chicken exports are tipped to grow 5 per cent thanks to higher demand for fresh chicken exports to Japan, but there is low demand for processed chicken in the European Union due to stringent sanitary standards.

However chicken exports to the United Kingdom are expected to grow a lot as a result of the Brexit vote, as the EU and the UK will separately allocate export quotas.

Exports of fruit and vegetables are also forecast to expand 5 per cent, while the export of electronic items is tipped to fall from 4 per cent to 2 per cent for the year due to the fluctuating exchange rate.

Exports of electric appliances are expected to drop from 4 per cent growth to flat growth as some large enterprises have relocated to other countries.

Seafood export gains ‘next year’

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


THE benefits from the improved ranking in the United States’ Trafficking in Persons Report or the European Union decision to maintain its ‘yellow card’ would accrue from 2017 onwards, according to TMB Analytics.

TMB Bank’s economic centre believes that while Thailand’s ranking in the US TIP report went up from Tier 3 to Tier 2 Watch List, the EU would maintain its ‘yellow card’ on Thailand regarding the Kingdom’s measures to try to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The EU is expected to announce the update later this year.

“Despite the actions, Thailand’s seafood exports to the US and EU would not see any expansion this year, given several lingering challenges which pressure exports to the two destinations,” it said.

In 2016, exports to the US market are expected to fall by 5 per cent year-on-year to US$1.2 billion, due to higher demand for produce from Latin American countries. Meanwhile, Thailand’s shrimp output has been dented by the EMS disease.

Exports to the EU are expected to fall by 24 per cent this year to $365 million, due to the EMS disease and internal economic challenges in the continent. Moreover, Thai products are priced higher than those coming from countries under the Generalised System of Preferences.

The bank acknowledged that while benefits are not immediate, Thailand’s labour-related strategies would become a major turning point for the seafood industry. All companies are required to apply international standards throughout their supply chain.

“This may be a painful period, but it could increase buyers’ confidence in Thai products and this would benefit Thailand in the long term,” it noted.

– The Nation

Slow pace of China’s transition adds to Asian export woes

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


CHINA’S economic rebalancing is likely to take longer than previously expected, leaving Asian exports

Speaking yesterday at a KBank seminar for customers on the outlook for the economy, interest rates and foreign-exchange rates, Pareena Phuangsiri, senior specialist at the division, said that while Beijing’s attempt to move to a domestic-consumption-driven economy had lifted the level of consumption to gross domestic product from 35 per cent to 37 per cent in the past two years, the ratio was still well below the average of around 70 per cent for advanced markets.

Meanwhile, the ratio of domestic investment to GDP in China last year stood at 44 per cent, which is regarded as too large when compared to the average of 20 per cent among advanced markets, she said.

The figures for domestic consumption and investment are indicators that the planned transition in the country’s economic structure will take some time to achieve because they are currently far off planners’ targets, she added.

Pareena said the continued prevalence of the “old” economy in China during the transition period had led to an increase in the country’s non-performing loans, as well as to a higher proportion of loss-making enterprises.

Loss-making enterprises in China so far this year account for 20 per cent of all businesses, compared with 13 per cent last year.

With the overall Asian economy so reliant on China’s, the country’s slowdown is continuing to have an impact on the region’s exports, the senior specialist said.

In the first five months of this year, Asian exports fell from the same period last year, she said, adding that those from South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines and Hong Kong in particular had witnessed weaker performance.

For Thailand, weak exports remain a major drag on the economy, especially those to G-3 markets (the US, Japan and the European Union) and China, which continues to face headwinds from economic and social reform, Pareena said.

Kasikorn Research Centre predicts that the Kingdom’s exports this year will show flat growth, after a decline of 5.6 per cent last year.

The key growth drivers for the Thai economy remain tourism and public spending.

Kobsidthi Silpachai, head of the centre’s markets and economic research unit, said that “Brexit” – the possible exit of the United Kingdom from the EU – was currently adding to worries over the recovery of the global economy, as well as to volatility in financial markets.

Even though his division believes the UK electorate will not vote to leave the EU in a referendum next week, the latest poll shows a slight majority of people agree with such a move, which has increased the level of concern among investors.

In the event of the United Kingdom exiting the EU, free-trade agreements involving the UK and its international trade partners would have to be renegotiated, with the latter possibly suspending investment until new deals could be reached, while global trade activity would also be affected, he said.

Moreover, financial investors would move to safe havens like Japan, which is a funding-currency market, to wait for a clear picture of the implications of a Brexit, which would mean the baht would likely depreciate against the US dollar in the short term, Kobsidthi predicted.

KBank targets the baht/dollar exchange rate remaining at around 35.50 until the end of this month, before weakening to 36 in the third quarter and 37 in the final quarter of the year, he added.

Govt monitors durian export to HK

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


THE COMMERCE Ministry is expediting its efforts to ensure durians exported to Hong Kong are not coated with turmeric or contain any residue in violation of the city’s health regulations.

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn discussed the issue early this month with Hong Kong Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So.

More than half of Thailand’s durian exports go to Hong Kong, worth more than Bt6 billion last year.

Hong Kong does not allow imported fresh vegetables or fruits to be coated with any substances, including turmeric. Some Thai farmers soak their durians in turmeric to speed ripening, and there had been some complaints by Hong Kong authorities last year.

According to a recent report by Wittayakorn Maneenetr, executive director of the Thai Trade Centre in Hong Kong, the city’s Food and Environment Hygiene Department (FEHD) said that after working together with the Thai Commerce Ministry, no turmeric-soaked durian had been found in Hong Kong markets.

As this is early in the high season for durian, the ministry will follow up and closely coordinate with all relevant parties to see that Hong Kong’s import regulations are honoured.

Besides turmeric, the growth regulator ethephon is also a concern of the FEHD if it is found at levels exceeding two parts per million. Thailand and Hong Kong will cooperate to control that substance in the future.

Meanwhile, Thailand has invited FEHD officials to examine the procedures to prepare fruits for export from May 24-26.

“THAIFEX-World of Food Asia”, an exhibition of food and agricultural products, is scheduled for May 25-29. About 150,000 people from across the world are expected to visit the exhibition, with plans for 1,800 corporate exhibitors from more than 40 countries. The event is expected to generate immediate income of Bt1.5 billion.

Ministry sticks to 5% export growth forecast

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


The Commerce Ministry is maintaining its estimate of 5-per-cent export growth this year, focusing on product development, promoting the service sector and penetrating niche markets.

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said the ministry had not lowered its growth forecast and would focus on enhancement of Thai exporters’ competitiveness. Product development will also be emphasised and the service sector will be given more promotion, given its high rate of expansion. Consumers’ behaviour has changed rapidly with more concentration on e-commerce, she said, noting that more discussion on marketing for exports was required. She said agricultural products needed relief measures.

The ministry this year will lead Thai business operators to penetrate foreign markets in other countries, particularly Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, whose economies are growing. Other places of interest are Iran, Africa, Central America, China and India, where cities will be particularly penetrated.

On the 64th anniversary of the Department of International Trade Promotion yesterday, the department signed five memoranda of understanding with private companies as guidelines to develop the country’s economy and promote exports.

These include cooperation on international trade promotion for halal products and services, on the “SMEs Genius Exporter” programme, on promotion of Thai business operators for international trade.

Shippers’ council bucks trend, forecasts 2%

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) is sticking with its forecast that exports this year will return to positive growth of 2 per cent, against other agencies that foresee continued export contraction.

The Bank of Thailand and academic institutions predict a further decline in export value this year of about 0.2 per cent, based on many negative factors.

However, the TNSC bases its estimate of 2-per-cent growth to US$225 billion (Bt8 trillion) on current government policy of close cooperation with private enterprises to boost exports, council president Nopporn Thepsithar said yesterday.

Export value shrank by 5.8 per cent last year.

Despite its rosy forecast, however, the council acknowledges many challenging factors. The economies of many developing nations will grow slowly, while the European Union and Japan see slow recoveries. Political conflicts between many countries will also have a negative effect on trade, while natural crises caused by climate change will affect the supply of many agricultural products.

These factors could affect the prices of crops and commodities worldwide, and Thailand could find it difficult to stand up to the tough competition from many countries, Nopporn said.

The TNSC says the export sector needs to increase its competitiveness in many ways, as well as form closer cooperation under trade partnerships and free-trade agreements.

The council has urged that the government announce clearly that Thailand intends to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to show international traders that this country will not be left behind.

As of now, Nopporn is worried that the unclear signals from the government on its position on the TPP will damage Thailand’s export competitiveness in the near future, since trading partners will shift to ordering goods from TPP members, especially Vietnam and Malaysia.

Vallop Vitanakorn, vice chairman of the council, said that to drive export expansion this year, the government needed to focus on making more shipment to cities in targeted markets, mainly Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, rather than concentrating only on border trading.

Many industries should also be focused on. To reach at least 2-per-cent export growth this year, shipments by key industries such as electronics and automobiles and parts should expand by 4 per cent, while exports of the agricultural and agro-industrial sectors need to expand by 2.3 per cent this year, he said.

Ministry looks to slight export growth in Jan

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Exports this month could reverse direction and post slight growth to about US$18 billion from $17.24 billion last January after slipping last year to their lowest level in six years, by 5.8 per cent to $241.37 billion (Bt7.22 trillion).

“Exports last year contracted more than expected because the much lower oil price in the global market cause lower trade in the world and in Thailand, as oil and by-products from oil account for 11 per cent of total exports for the country,” Somkiat Triratpan, director of the Trade and Strategy Bureau at the Commerce Ministry, said yesterday.

Imports for all of 2015 also contracted to a level unseen in six years, by 11.0 per cent to $202.65 billion. That left Thailand with a trade surplus of $11.72 billion, the ministry said in a report.

Exports in 2009 crashed by 14.3 per cent during the US-led global financial crisis.

The shrinkage in 2015 outward value was worse than the ministry’s forecast for a decline of 5.5 per cent.

For this year the ministry expects exports to strengthen to growth of 5 per cent to $225 billion on the expected recovery in the global economy.

However, the continued softening in global oil prices will slow down world trade and Thailand’s shipments, since the purchasing power of many countries will be weakened.

According to the International Monetary Fund, global oil prices are expected to average $42.50 per barrel, down from $51.60 last year. However, the oil price has fallen to as low as $25 per barrel this month.

Exports in January could show some improvement if oil rebounds slightly.

Last year, exports of agro-industrial goods declined by 7.4 per cent and other industrial goods by 4 per cent.

Rice shipments retreated by 10.7 per cent in volume to 9.79 million tonnes and by 15.2 per cent in value to $4.61 billion. Rubber export volume was up 7.2 per cent to 3.65 million tonnes, but value was down 16 per cent to $5.05 billion.

Exports of automobiles and parts rose by 2.4 per cent, but those of electronic goods dipped 1.3 per cent last year.

Exports to most markets decreased last year. The exceptions were Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (7.7 per cent), Australia (5.3 per cent) on higher demand for imported vehicles after it shut down automobile plants, the United States (0.7 per cent) and Latin America (0.6 per cent).