Thailand: Exports to Myanmar expected to drop by up to B96.5bn

Exports to Myanmar are forecast to fall by 60-96.5 billion baht this year because of Myanmar’s political chaos, according to the latest study by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

Aat Pisanwanich, director of the Center for International Trade Studies at the UTCC, said the study on the Myanmar coup’s impact on trade and investment by Thailand and Asean found that 100 days after the coup led by Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing Myanmar’s GDP had contracted by 2.5% in the first quarter compared to 6.4% growth in the same quarter of last year, with a loss of foreign direct investment (FDI) worth an estimated US$6 billion and leaving about 600,000 workers without jobs.

The putsch also resulted in an 18% foreign exchange loss for Myanmar, and a drop in household income by 83%, the study further revealed.

According to Mr Aat, FDI in Myanmar is expected to decline by 76.1%-85.4% or 202.90-227.69 billion baht this year, mainly in the energy, industry, property, oil and gas, transportation and industrial estate sectors.

Foreign investment shifting to Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Thailand is also highly anticipated.

With a spate of negative factors in Myanmar, according to Mr Aat, Thailand’s exports to the neighbouring country are expected to fall by 51.6-82.2% or 60.67-96.59 billion baht, leading overall exports to contract by 0.8%-1.3% this year.

Industrial products which are poised to see a drastic fall in exports include finished oil, machinery, steel, fabrics, plastic pellets, rubber products, motorcycles and parts, pharmaceuticals, computers and ceramics.

Shipments of consumer products are also expected to fall, including beverages, cosmetics, soap and skincare products, sugar, animal feed, vegetable cooking oil, television sets, shrimp, shoes and rice products.

The study has also found the country which is expected to see the greatest export fall to Myanmar is China, followed by Asean states, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States, respectively.

Among Asean members, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam are set to feel a heavy blow from the drop in exports.

According to the UTCC study, Thailand’s export growth to Myanmar has continuously fallen over the last 10 years.

Exports to Myanmar reached 117.52 billion baht in 2020, a drop of 13.03% from 135.14 billion baht in the previous year, which had fallen 8.80% from 2018.