The government has yet to cut its export target forecast, asking for more discussions with the private sector and relevant state agencies before doing so possibly this month.
Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan yesterday admitted the country's export performance will likely be about halved from the present 7% forecast to 3-4%.
However, he emphasised an official forecast revision has yet to be made, as the ministry would like more consultations with the private sector and the Industry and Agriculture ministries before settling on a new figure.
The minister on Monday chaired a meeting with the directors of 62 Thai trade centres worldwide to re-evaluate the export trend for the rest of this year and 2014 and discuss how to boost exports and raise service sector revenue in the remaining months of 2013.
Mr Niwatthamrong said he ordered all 62 commercial diplomats worldwide to submit their export strategies and plans to him.
He also urged them to help promote Thai products and push the export industry, particularly in these final four months of the year.
Mr Niwatthamrong still believes the Thai economy will pick up in the second half despite small export growth of only 1% year-on-year in the first eight months.
Unofficial reports indicate the August growth figure was 4%, although details have not yet been disclosed.
What has been released officially shows exports fell for a third month in a row in July, by 1.48% year-on-year to US$19.1 billion, while imports rose by 1.08% to $21.3 billion, for a trade deficit of $2.2 billion.
In local currency terms, shipments dropped by 3.41% to 584 billion baht.
In the first seven months, exports rose by 0.6% year-on-year to $132 billion and imports by 3.85% to $150 billion for a trade deficit of $18 billion.
In local currency, exports saw a year-on-year drop of 3.68% to 3.92 trillion baht.
"We foresee the export activities in the fourth quarter expanding in line with seasonal purchases and partially thanks to recent trade visits by the prime minister," said Mr Niwatthamrong.
"However, the baht appreciation may be an area of concern."
Payungsak Chartsutipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), agreed that exports will recover in the fourth quarter.
Several industries such as plastics, electronic parts and cosmetics remain on a continued course for strong growth this year, he said. The FTI expects exports growth of 3-4% for the full year.
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- Writer: Post Reporters