FE Today Logo
Search date: 04-04-2018 Return to current date: Click here

Thai business groups raise export forecasts

April 04, 2018 00:00:00

A vehicle carrying export goods —Internet

BANGKOK, Apr 03 (Reuters): Thai business associations raised their 2018 economic forecasts on Tuesday, citing stronger exports and increased domestic demand.

The upgrade suggests Southeast Asia's second-largest economy is gaining momentum, though growth is heavily reliant on exports and continues to lag regional peers.

The group slightly raised its 2018 economic growth forecast to 4.0-4.5 per cent, from 3.8-4.5 per cent.

Exports are now expected to increase 5.0-8.0 per cent this year, up from 3.5-6.0 per cent seen earlier.

Higher imports of capital goods suggest improving manufacturing and domestic spending, Chen Namchaisiri, chairman of a joint committee of the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Bankers' Association and the Thai Board of Trade of Thailand, told a briefing.

The groups are worried about trade tension between China and the United States, though it is not expected to lead to any trade war, Chen said.

The Thai National Shippers' Council on Tuesday also raised its 2018 export forecast, to at least 6.0 per cent from 5.5 per cent, though the baht's strength is cutting export revenue in baht terms.

In January-February, exports in dollar terms jumped 13.8 per cent from a year earlier, and were up 3.1 per cent in baht terms, customs data showed.

The baht, which was at 31.2 per dollar at 0710 GMT, has risen 4.4 per cent this year after gaining 9.0 per cent in 2017.

Last week, the central bank raised its 2018 economic growth forecast to 4.1 per cent from 3.9 per cent, and project a 7.0 per cent gain in exports, instead of 4.0 per cent. Last year, Thailand's economy expanded 3.9 per cent, the fastest pace in five years, while exports rose nearly 10 per cent.

Share if you like