Thu, October 28, 2021

in-focus

New Covid wave, shortage of containers, strong baht all hitting export sector: TNSC


Thai National Shippers Council (TNSC) expects exports this month to only grow by 3 to 4 per cent, as the new wave of Covid-19 infections is expected to further affect the export sector.

TNSC president Kanyapak Tantipipattanapong, however, admitted that the new normal and the work-from-home trend has somewhat boosted the demand for food, medical supplies and consumer products.

However, she pinpointed four negative points that will affect Thailand’s export sector this year, namely:

• A new wave of Covid-19 outbreak, which is likely to be more severe, especially in the UK, rest of Europe, South Korea and Japan.

• A shortage of containers and rise in freight rate.

• Appreciation of the baht after Thailand was added to the US watchlist for currency manipulation, which has resulted in foreign exchange speculation.

• A likely drop in oil price due to a slowdown in production, tourism and export of goods made from petroleum.

In order to deal with these problems, she said the government and central bank should launch urgent measures to mitigate the outbreak’s impact on businesses, such as cutting fees for contacting government agencies, extending the period of soft loans and reducing expenses.

“The government should also solve the shortage of containers as soon as possible by either using the Thai Customs Department’s containers, launching measures that allow the export of goods without requiring containers, allowing 400-metre vessels to enter Laem Chabang port or checking for the availability of containers elsewhere in the country. The government should also cut port charges,” she said.

“In the long-term, the government should launch measures to stimulate the economy, transform the current economic system into a digital one and accelerate free-trade agreements.”

She added that locking down the country to curb Covid-19 has brought the logistics process to a halt.

“The government should take care of the transport sector if it has to impose lockdown measures in the East of the country,” she added.

Thailand’s exports for the first 11 months of last year stood at $211.38 billion, down 6.92 per cent year on year, while import was $187.87 billion, down 13.74 per cent year on year, resulting in a $23.51 billion trade surplus. The export of agricultural and industrial products from January to November last year dropped by 4 per cent and 6.6 per cent, respectively.

In November alone, export was $18.93 billion, down 3.65 per cent year on year, while import was $18.88 billion, down 0.99 per cent year on year, resulting in $52.59 million trade surplus. The export of agricultural and industrial products in November dropped by 2.4 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively.

Published : January 05, 2021

By : The Nation