By THE NATION
However, the value of exports will contract 0.3 per cent to Bt1.02 trillion if the baht rises to 29.30 per US dollar.
The export value is expected to expand 3.5 per cent to Bt1.06 trillion if the baht holds steady at 30.40 per dollar.
One positive factor helping food exports this year is the global economic recovery after tensions over a US-China trade war eased.
The Olympic Games in Japan will also spark demand for more food.
The negative factors that could affect the food industry are the drought and the possible hike in production and logistics costs if energy prices rise following an escalation in the US-Iran conflict.
Food exports last year dropped 3.8 per cent to $33.1 billion, or Bt1.025 trillion, while food imports amounted to Bt401.3 billion, down 0.1 per cent.
Among items suffering a decline in export value are rice, which fell 22 per cent, sugar 13.7 per cent, canned tuna 6 per cent, shrimps 9.2 per cent, and pineapples 15.7 per cent. However, the value of chicken exports increased 0.8 per cent, condiments 4 per cent, coconuts 3.8 per cent and ready-to-eat meals 4.6 per cent.
The institute blames the drop in the value of food exports on the global economic situation, the strengthening baht and declining world food prices. The global food trade last year amounted to $1.3 trillion, down 0.6 per cent. Thailand’s food exports accounted for 2.51 per cent of the world food trade.
Last year, China was Thailand’s biggest food importer, replacing the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam) bloc. Exports to China rose 34 per cent to Bt150.75 billion, accounting for 14.7 per cent of Thailand’s total food exports.