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Brighter global scene to revive Thai export growth in 2013

Publication Date : 21-09-2012


Thailand exports are expected to enjoy double-digit growth next year as global economic prospects brighten from the euro rescue, the US Federal Reserve's QE3 and China's infrastructure investment, according to Kasikorn Research Centre.

The house forecasts that exports next year will climb by 14 per cent against 5 per cent expected this year and 13.1 per cent achieved last year.

Pimonwan Mahujchariyawong, deputy managing director, told a press briefing yesterday that the recovery in exports would help sustain the growth of gross domestic product next year, which KResearch targets at 5 per cent. Amid the fragile global economy, 5 per cent is regarded as a proper rate for Thailand.

China's investment initiatives and the rise in commodity prices due to the Fed's announcement last week of a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) are catalysts for Thai exports.

China's economy is expected to return to its fast growth trajectory next quarter after Beijing accelerated infrastructure investment in the country. The stability of the Chinese economy will restore demand for agricultural products from Thailand, the research centre predicts.

QE3 will influence inflation in many countries including Thailand, where it will reach 3.8 per cent next year, higher than this year's projected 3.2-3.5 per cent.

The 300 baht (US$9) minimum daily wage, which will be enforced nationwide on January 1, will also stoke inflation, KResearch says. However, the higher wage could push GDP growth up by 0.6 percentage point and spur domestic consumption.

QE3 will inflate asset prices and excite larger fund flows, causing volatility in commodity prices and exchange rates, so operators should continue to focus on risk management and protect themselves from currency risks with the hedging tools available in the capital market and from banks.

However, QE3 will not have a significant impact on the Thai economy because the country has been buoyed by public investment, especially the flood management projects worth 350 billion baht ($11.3 billion), which will be seen next year.

"Public investment will be a key driver of the economy next year besides the recovery in the export sector," Pimonwan said.

The government will play a crucial role in stimulating the economy because it knows growth cannot rely much on exports as before.

Private investment next year is expected to moderate because funds were injected this year to rehabilitate businesses from the flood damage.

Wiwan Tharahirunchote, executive chairman of KResearch, said that assuming that the euro-zone and US economies do not get worse, the Thai economy would remain growing at 5 per cent next year.

Even though inflation remains an issue, the Bank of Thailand is expected to keep the policy rate on hold because consumption will start to lose its fizz. The government next year has no populist policies to incite spending, such as the first-car scheme.


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