The weakening of the euro against the US dollar would not have any substantial impact on the baht or the Thai export sector, Suchart Sakkarnkosol, senior director at the Bank of Thailand, said on Wednesday.
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Although private investment has joined the rebound in Thai economy, the outlook remains weak relative to other demand
The medium-term outlook is sobering, with growth expected at 3.5 percent in 2010 and likely remaining below potential for the next three years. Because the Thai economy is largely dependent on final demand in advanced economies, a return to pre-crisis rates of economic growth (a full recovery vs. a rebound to pre-crisis levels) will require a combination of (a recovery of demand from advanced economies and a rebalancing of the sources of growth to reduce Thailand’s dependence on demand from advanced economies. Neither process is likely to be swift. Recovery from a financial crisis is a lengthy process that involves the rebuilding of balance sheets, and the IMF estimates that half of the losses in the financial system in advanced economies are yet to be recognized.
Automotive exports – the second largest item in the country?s exports after electronics – fell sharply early this year by about 45 percent from a year before. (During 2009, exports slumped through May before rebounding in the third quarter, although data of late suggest some leveling off of foreign demand.) Compared with electronics, automotive exports are half as large in value but have twice as large value-added per unit of output, leaving the contributions of both sectors to GDP about equal.
Stimulus programs were implemented in Thailand throughout 2009, confirming improved expectations, boosting demand and supporting the momentum of the economic recovery.
Despite the rebound, Thailand’s export recovery is still subject to several downside risks. A recent export pickup in East Asia benefits mainly from coordinated and massive policy responses in G-3 economies and China that have boosted their demand for imports, and inventory re-stocking worldwide that followed a swift and large de-stocking in early-2009 as orders fell less than production. These two factors are temporary, as governments have to unwind injections to maintain fiscal discipline and companies resume their normal stocking levels. In fact, data shows that US inventory-to-shipment ratios for computers, electronic products, and electronic appliances started to rise again in August and September, thus leading to weaker new orders. This likely adds pressure on Thailand’s electronic shipments to the US in the coming months.