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Thai exporters feeling pinch of war and rising economic woes

THE NATION THAILAND – Thai exporters have begun to feel the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war and several economic woes, including a Chinese economic slowdown, the chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) said.

Sanan Angubolkul said Thai exports are starting to be affected by the global economic slowdown caused by headwinds from the protracted Russian-Ukraine conflict.

He pointed out that the rising cost of consumer goods, high inflation rates, inadequate key materials in supply chains, policy rate hikes by several central banks and China’s economic slowdown coupled with only 4.5 per cent projected growth in its GDP this year were causing the global economic slump.

Sanan said the worldwide slowdown and other problems would definitely affect Thai exports for the remainder of the year.

He noted that warning signs have already emerged with shrinking year-on-year exports to China and Japan in April. He did not elaborate.

Tourists are ferried on boats in Bangkok

However, overall exports in April still enjoyed 9.9 per cent year-on-year growth, Sanan added.

The TCC chairman said exporters had also been hit by rising transportation costs due to soaring oil prices amid the war.

Anyway, he said, Thai exporters of food and agricultural products could actually stand to gain from the global fear of food shortages owing to the war.

Sanan said such fears had prompted a number of countries to stop exporting agricultural products, especially wheat, sugar and vegetable oil.

Since Thailand has not encountered any food shortage and with production far outstripping domestic demand, Thai exporters can grab the opportunity to export agricultural products to world markets, Sanan pointed out.

However, he advised, food stocks and agricultural products must be managed well so the government ensures there is no shortage of necessary materials, including fertiliser and animal feed.

Despite the impact from global woes, the chamber expects export growth of three to six per cent this year and inflation in the range of 3.5 to 5.5 per cent.

The TCC also believes tourism would be the main economic driver this year and expects six million to eight million foreign arrivals, Sanan added.