Thailand: Shippers less bullish about 2017 exports
Shippers predict export growth of 1-2% in 2017, lower than the 2.5-3% forecast by the government, as external risk factors remain abundant.
According to Nopporn Thepsithar, president of the Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC), the global economy and international trade prospects remain fragile, while tariff and non-tariff barriers are expected to multiply in the new year, driven by protectionist US trade policies and mounting geopolitical conflicts.
In addition, more serious and frequent natural disasters are anticipated in the year to come, possibly crippling global supply chains, Mr Nopporn said.
“Despite signs of recovering crude oil and farm product prices and exporters’ adapting to changing global conditions, we still see those risk factors may crimp exports next year,” he said.
The Commerce Ministry on Monday said exports were likely to move in a range of 2.5-3% in 2017 on expectations of a global economic recovery.
The ministry forecasts 2016 exports to eke out marginal growth or stay in a range of -0.1% to 0.2%, boosted by an unexpected surge of exports in November and anticipated strong growth in December. The TNSC predicts 2016 exports in a range of -1% to zero growth.
The Commerce Ministry reported on Monday that exports bounced back smartly in November, up 10.2% year-on-year to UScopy8.9 billion, after falling 4.2% year-on-year in October and against growth of 3.4% and 6.5% in September and August, respectively. The ministry said exports of agricultural and agribusiness products rose 12.7% in November, fetching $2.9 billion, boosted by higher shipments of rice (25.9% year-on-year), rubber (15.6%) and tapioca (18.4%).
Exports of industrial products also increased 9.8% last month to copy4.9 billion, led by machinery and parts, and plastic pellets.
Japan was the market with the strongest growth at 22.5% in November, followed by China at 22%, the EU at 13.8% and the US at 10.3%. However, shipments to the Middle East tumbled by 21.4% last month. In November, imports rose 3% higher from the same month in the previous year to copy7.4 billion, producing a trade surplus of copy.54 billion.
For the first 11 months exports totalled copy97 billion, down marginally by 0.05% year-on-year, with imports shrinking 5.1% to copy77 billion. Trade surplus for the period totalled copy9.7 billion.
Mr Nopporn said November’s export surge stemmed largely from higher gold exports, rising oil prices and higher purchases from key trading partners for year-end celebrations.