Thailand’s commerce minister to stimulate exports, tackle Q4 slump

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Thai Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai is set to engage in dialogue with the private sector this week with the aim of stimulating exports and reviving the nation’s Q4 performance.

The meeting is scheduled for September 27, as stated by Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengrit, the head of the International Trade Promotion Department, with the intent to evaluate the export scenario and devise strategies to stimulate Thai trade in the final quarter.

The objective is to implement strategies that will return Thailand’s exports to positive growth, he explained. Participants from the private sector will include representatives from the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai National Shippers’ Council, and commercial counsellors from globally dispersed locations.

As per the latest data from the Commerce Ministry, Thai exports experienced a downturn for the tenth consecutive month in July, falling short of predictions due to a significant decrease in global commodity prices.

This decrease can be attributed to the conflict in Ukraine in the previous year, which resulted in a significant slowdown in export values associated with these commodities.

The situation was further aggravated by more stringent monetary policies and an increase in strictness in lending practices by financial institutions, leading to a decrease in consumer spending, as per the ministry’s report. China is also grappling with a sluggish economy marked by lower domestic consumption, a result of diminished business confidence, stated Mr Phusit.

Falling exports

In July, the customs-cleared value of exports fell by 6.2% year-on-year to US$22.1 billion (798.6 billion baht), while imports contracted by 11.1% to US$24.1 billion (870.9 billion baht), resulting in a trade deficit of US$1.97 billion (71.2 billion baht).

In the first seven months of this year, exports decreased by 5.5% to US$163 billion (5.9 trillion baht), while imports fell by 4.7% to US$172 billion (6.2 trillion baht), leaving a trade deficit of US$8.28 billion (299 billion baht). The ministry is due to publish export figures for August tomorrow, reported Bangkok Post.

The International Trade Promotion Department expects exports to return to positive growth in the final quarter of this year, although reaching the ministry’s annual target of 1-2% growth will be a daunting task, Phusit added.

For the rest of the year, the department plans to work with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Airways International Plc to promote Thai restaurants and Thai food products, which are seen as soft power assets that can enhance the value of Thai food exports.

Commercial counsellors worldwide are scheduled to convene in December to evaluate export targets for 2024, which are projected to improve from this year’s figures due to governmental efforts to encourage Thai exporters to maximise the benefits of free trade agreements.

From March 6-8, 2024, the department plans to partner with the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Koelnmesse, a German trade fair organiser, to host THAIFEX-HOREC Asia 2024, Thailand’s inaugural exhibition for the hotel, catering, and café industry. This event is anticipated to bolster the service industry.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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