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2018 exports could jump 6.5%

2017.12.22 13:58:14 | 2017.12.22 13:58:30
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Pimchanok: Robust global trade outlook

Pimchanok: Robust global trade outlook

The Commerce Ministry has set an initial 2018 export growth target of 6-6.5% to about US$250 billion (8.2 trillion baht), citing the expanding global economy, while the baht is expected to soften because of US policies to strengthen the dollar.

The growth projection is lower than this year`s expected export growth of 10%, which would be the highest in six years, according to Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the ministry`s Trade Policy and Strategy Office.

She said the forecast of rising exports is in line with the estimation of the World Trade Organization, which said global export growth could reach 9.2% in 2018.

Ms Pimchanok said US tax policies should draw money back to that country to support the dollar, and the resultant weaker baht should continue to boost Thai exports.

The export growth forecast of 6-6.5% is also based on assumptions of global oil prices in the range of $50-$60 a barrel and a baht worth 33-35 to the US dollar.

"The forecast of 6-6.5% growth next year means we have to export $20.8 billion per month, which is slightly higher than the current monthly export average of $18-$19 billion a month," Ms Pimchanok said.

She said the Commerce Ministry will brainstorm with all of Thailand`s trade ambassadors worldwide, as well as confer with the private sector, before releasing an updated export target in February.

Exports in 2017 have shown a robust trend, with shipments for the January-November period totalling $217 billion, up 10% year-on-year, as rising demand boosted orders in all export segments.

"The fact that exports have risen by 10% so far this year makes us more confident that total exports for the whole of 2017 will reach 10%," Ms Pimchanok said.

Imports in the first 11 months reached $203 billion, up 14.5% year-on-year, giving Thailand a trade surplus of $14.2 billion.

In November alone, exports rose 13.4% year-on-year to $21.4 billion, marking a double-digit rise for the seventh straight month and the highest growth in 58 months, Ms Pimchanok said.

Imports in November totalled $19.7 billion, up 13.7% year-on-year, good for a trade surplus of $1.77 billion on the month, she said.

Breaking down the November export figures, agriculture and processed agriculture shipments posted a sharp rise, particularly rice exports, which reached 1.5 million tonnes, their highest monthly level ever.

Other food products with rising orders included cooked chicken, vegetables, fruits and sugar, Ms Pimchanok said.

On the minus side, exports of tapioca products fell by 10.1% in November.

Industrial exports rose for the ninth straight month in November, including shipments of rubber products, auto parts and electronic equipment.

Exports increased to every major market, particularly South Asia, whose shipments rose to their highest level in 79 months, while exports to Asean countries rose to the highest in 21 months.

By Bangkok Post (Published: 22/12/2017)


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