BANGKOK ⸺ Thai exports could grow more than a forecast of 3-4% increase this year as global demand improves, but a persistently strong baht and a migrant labour shortage pose a risk, the country’s shippers’ council said on Tuesday.
Exports, a key driver of growth, will be supported by the improving economies of trade partners and global vaccine distribution, Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, chairwoman of the Thai National Shippers’ Council, told a briefing.
“While maintaining our forecast for now, we expect momentum to continue. February’s shipments should be good,” she said.
However, the strength of the baht and a migrant labour shortage could have a negative impact, Ghanyapad said, adding that a container shortage should last at least until the middle of the year.
The baht eased slightly to 30.34 per dollar on Tuesday but it has still gained 9.3% since last April.
In January, overall exports rose 0.35% from a year earlier. Excluding a slump in volatile gold shipments, exports otherwise rose 6.27%, customs data showed.
Thailand’s state planning agency predicts exports will increase 5.8% this year, after a 6% decline last year.
Reporting by Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty; Reuters