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April’s exports fall to the lowest level in 24 months

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April’s exports fall to the lowest level in 24 months | The Thaiger

“Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak has scheduled a meeting on May 31 with Thailand’s commercial attachés from across the world in a bid to boost exports.”

Thailand’s exports fell 2.6% last month (April) to US$18.5 billion, the lowest level since May 2017.

Thai PBS reports that imports in April also dropped by 0.72% to about US$20 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of about US$1.5 billion, she said, adding that Thailand’s total exports for the first four months of this year amounted to US$80.5 billion, representing a 1.86% contraction compared to imports of U$79.9 billion, a  1.08% drop.

The fall is being blamed on the intensifying trade war between the US and China, according to Ms. Pimchanok Wornkhorporn, Director of the trade policy and strategy office at the Ministry of Commerce.

“Other external factors, such as the slowdown in global trade and demand for Thai products from its key trading partners, compounded by the volatile political situation in Europe and credit problems in China, conspired to drive Thai exports down.”

Hardest hit by the trade war are electronic exports to China, as Thailand is a major source for Chinese manufacturers, she said, adding that several other countries are being affected and their business operators have resorted to foreign exchange hedging to minimise exchange risks.

SOURCE: Thai PBS



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Trying to find a pulse in Thailand’s economic health

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Trying to find a pulse in Thailand’s economic health | The Thaiger

Thailand’s economy is south-east Asia’s wounded soldier as the newly elected Thai government tries to boost confidence and stimulate the economy after five years of military rule. Certainly the past 12 months have been the most challenging.

GDP growth hit a four-year low of 2.8% for Q1 2019 and exports remain weak.

Despite having unlimited power for half a decade, PM Prayut and the NCPO have done little to improve Thailand’s economic situation or the plight of the average Thai.

Going after the previous premier and the elected Pheu Thai government as soon as they came to power over a rice pledging scheme (subsidies for rice farmers), the NCPO have used the same blunt tool of agricultural subsidies to keep the northern and north-east farmers ‘happy’. After all, that was Prayut’s big promise after seizing power in 2014, “bringing happiness back to the people”.

Big infrastructure promises and spending have made good headlines but are yet to show any economic gain for most Thai people. It hasn’t really made Thai people ‘happy’ yet.

Of the ASEAN 5 economies (Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand), the Land of Smiles has performed the worst over the fast five years averaging 3.6% growth against the average of the other four nations of 5-6.2% GDP growth.

For 2019, Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Council, responsible for calculating the official GDP figures, has set growth at 3.3-3.8%, down from 4% estimated at the start of the year.  If the tourist tap stops gushing and slows to a trickle and the export figures keep trending down, the estimates may have to be revised down further again.

Trying to find a pulse in Thailand's economic health | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Global Economic Data, Indicators, Charts & Forecasts

Following the election and the (soon) completed formation of the new government it would appear that political stability abounds for Thailand but the fragile 19-party coalition is not predicted to last long. It’s also considered unlikely the new PM, who is the old PM from the five years of military rule, will be a fan of lengthy discussions, public consultation and parliamentary debate. Some of the smaller parties, who threw their weight behind the pro-junta coalition initially, are now getting flakey and looking to cross the floor and take their place in the back-benches of the opposition side of the new parliament.

Public debt has also steadily risen under military rule, climbing to 34% of GDP last year from 30% when they came to power. But international credit rating agencies are not ringing alarm bells just yet and Thailand’s public debt levels remain lower than Vietnam, Malaysia or Indonesia.

Thailand’s two largest infrastructure projects will surely continue to manifest, though the next phases of the contract will now be subject to debate in the new parliament. These include the 225 billion baht high-speed rail link between Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao international airports, and the China-backed high-speed line between Bangkok and the Thai-Laos border with a proposed budget of 300 billion baht.

And the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), the expansion of industry for the areas from Bangkok’s east to Rayong, will remain a showcase for economic growth for the new government.

Thailand will now have to choose whether it’s sufficient to keep surfing along as the wounded soldier of south-east Asian economies or whether it can muscle its way back to a position of regional economic prominence.

Trying to find a pulse in Thailand's economic health | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: National Economic and Social Development Council

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Thai car manufacturers upbeat about sales

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Thai car manufacturers upbeat about sales | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Chevrolet’s proposed SUV ‘Blazer’ to replace the Captiva

Car sales for the first five months of this year stood at 437,722 equating to a year-on-year rise of just over 9%. Sales for May alone were 88,097 units, up 3.7%. But May’s growth slowed from the double-digit rise that the sector experienced between January and April, 2019.

• By brand sales in May, Toyota was up 10.2% to 29,337 units. Isuzu was up 9.2% to 15,651 units and Honda was up 7.7% to 11,224 units. Mitsubishi sales were up 6.2% to 7,308 units, and Nissan sales were down 1.0% to 5,385 units.

• By body type, passenger cars were up 1.3% year on year to 33,580 units. Commercial vehicle sales were up 5.2% to 54,517 units. Pickup sales included in the commercial vehicle sales were up 8.9% to 44,102 units.

The VP of Tri Petch Isuzu Sales, Takeshi Kazahara, is quoted in the Bangkok Post saying the slow growth last month is in line with Thailand’s general economic outlook, which is suffering from the US-China trade war.

“This external factor could pressure the economy with unstable sentiment. A windfall factor is new investment flow from Chinese investors, who are shifting to invest in Thailand as they flee from the trade war. The rise of private investment could contribute to Thailand’s GDP and offset the trade war’s effect,” he told the Bangkok Post.

Spokespersons from Mitsubishi and Suzuki also were bullish about the state of the Thai car sales, Mitsubishi saying they remain confident after a strong first quarter this year, and Suzuki calling for the Bank of Thailand to control financial measures for people borrowing to purchase cars.

More worrisome is the drop in exports which are directly linked to the strength of the Thai baht.

Thai car manufacturers upbeat about sales | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: FTI (Federation of Thai Industries), Toyota Motor Thailand (TMT)

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Thailand Post’s no-go list

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Thailand Post’s no-go list | The Thaiger

Twenty years ago postal services were thought to he going out of fashion as email and social media began to replace people sending letters in the post. But that’s all changed now as online retail services are making the world’s postal services busier than ever. Including Thailand Post.

If you’re wishing to avoid problems with Thailand Post and would like to know what you should’t be putting in the mail, this story is for you. At the top of Thailand Post’s warnings, senders are advised not to lend their ID cards (or passports) to strangers to mail their packages.

Thailand Post have issued the guidelines after police found that drug traffickers are increasingly resorting to postal services to send narcotics to their customers, after several major drug shipments, being transported in vehicles, were intercepted by police.

The managing director of state-run Thailand Post, Samorn Therdthampiboon, says the company’s post offices have intensified the screening of parcels to prevent unscrupulous senders from mailing prohibited items.

Senders are required to show their ID cards (or passports), and CCTV systems have been installed in all post offices. There are also X-ray scanners to look for explosives and flammable materials as part of the increased security measures.

There are seven types of items prohibited from being sent by mail…

  • Live animals
  • Narcotics (illegal drugs)
  • Pornographic material
  • Explosives or flammable substances
  • Unsheathed knives or other sharp objects
  • Banknotes
  • Fake products which infringe intellectual property rights

(We would add Durian but that’s still legal!)

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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