“Export trends are aligned with global sentiment and the outlook for other Asian countries, making export prospects murky because of the escalating trade war.”
The government is massively revising down their export growth targets to just 3% this year from an earlier 8% growth estimate. Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak is blaming the global economic slowdown, the ongoing trade spat between the US and China and, without specifying, “political uncertainties in Europe”.
He estimates that exports are likely to fetch US$260 billion in 2019, down from the $270 billion estimate.
“Apart from weak global demand, the ongoing trade war has taken a heavy toll on shipments, particularly of electronics, automobiles, garments, rubber and plastics, which are linked to the US-China supply chains,” he said.
According to Commerce Ministry data, the dollar value of Thai exports decreased by 1.9% year-on-year in the first four months of 2019. Import value shrank 1.1%, yielding a trade surplus of just $550 million.
The ministry says the country is losing market share for certain products such as automobiles. As an example Somkid mentioned that Australia is importing more electric vehicles from China and Germany, reducing their imports of petrol-fuelled vehicles.
The Commerce Ministry says they need to work in closer co-operation with the Board of Investment and the Tourism Authority of Thailand to promote investment and tourism, this, while continuing to provide aid to farmers to upgrade their productivity and product quality.
“Food, construction, furniture and garment products still have high potential.”
“Japan and the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) are also important export markets that can help cushion the impact of the ongoing trade row.”
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