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China and CLMV drives Thai exports growth to continue at 6.2%YOY

The value of Thai exports grew by 0.5%YOY in 2016, turning to positive growth for the first time in 4 years.

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Thai exports rose by 6.2%YOY thanks to rising exports to China and CLMV that grew by 27%YOY and 17%YOY, respectively, with exports of oil-related products growing quickly in these markets.The value of exports grew by 0.5%YOY in 2016, turning to positive growth for the first time in 4 years. Excluding gold exports, however, the value of exports would have contracted by 1.2%YOY.

The value of imports continued to grow the fourth consecutive month by 10.3%YOY as imports of fuel increase following oil price recovery. As a result, the overall value of imports fell by 3.9%YOY in 2016.

EIC expects exports to grow slightly by 1.5%YOY in 2017

The drop in exports when excluding gold reflects that Thai exports have not yet fully recovered, especially with exports of main industrial goods like electronics and electrical appliances that have continued to suffer throughout 2016 from slow recovery of global markets, products becoming outdated and shifts in production bases.

EIC expects exports to grow slightly by 1.5%YOY in 2017, as subdued global trade and risk from the US trade barriers with China that will affect Thai industrial exports used in China’s exports supply chain, especially electronics, primary plastic and furniture wood, weigh down growth.

Nevertheless, recovering oil prices will likely support improvement in prices and value of oil-related commodities exports, especially during the first half of 2017.

EIC expects imports to return to growth at 3.5%YOY in 2017 as imports of fuel rise with oil prices and demand of consumer goods increases on the back of stronger household consumption. However, stalling investment condition among main industries that will prolong into 2017 will likely put downward pressure imports of on capital goods going forward.

Author: Pimnipa Booasang

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Ecommerce

Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
PAKORN PEETATHAWATCHAI:

PAKORN: When we first began promoting ESG-compliant investments, we were met with little interest. We attributed this to a lack of clear data to showcase the economic benefits of ESG investment, and perhaps limited clarity as to what constitutes a sustainable or ESG-compliant investment. The launch of the THSI list and, subsequently, the SETTHSI Index, was designed to address this. Our most recent data, comparing returns for the SETTHSI Index with the broader SET and SET100 indices from April 2020 to April 2021, underscores the economic benefits of these investments: the group compliant with ESG standards outperformed the other two indices on every data point. 

As of May 2021 Thailand was home to CG and ESG assets under management totalling BT54.8bn ($1.7bn) across 50 funds – up from 23 funds in 2019. Meanwhile, of the BT187.1bn ($5.9bn) raised in green, social and sustainability bonds since 2018, BT136.4bn ($4.3bn) was raised in 2020 – 83% from the government and the remainder from development banks and private players. This rising demand, in a move to manage risk and generate returns, has been complemented by growing supply and promotion: supply from ESG-compliant businesses aiming for resiliency and sustainable growth, as well as promotion from regulators highlighting investment opportunities with good CG and SD practices. Indeed, the pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting the view of ESG compliance from a luxury to a requirement in the new normal.

In what ways can enhanced standard-setting and regulatory mechanisms overcome the remaining barriers to improved ESG performance?

PAKORN: A multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for enhanced ESG performance – not only in Thailand, but around much of the globe. This can also help to address the standout incumbent challenge: access to reliable, wide-ranging ESG data. For example, the 2020 update to the 56-1 One Report established clear ESG standards and triggered online and offline capacity-building programmes to support listed firms’ compliance. SET is developing an ESG data platform with a structured template to promote the availability of comparable data, maximise value added from corporate sustainability disclosures, and foster collaboration between the business value chain and stakeholders. This is expected to support Thai companies along their ESG journey in an economically sustainable way, result in a greater number of sustainability-focused products and services, drive sustainable investing in the Thai investment community and ultimately “make the capital market work for everyone”, as outlined in the SET’s vision.
 

 

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Economics

Youth unemployment hits new highs in Thailand due to COVID-19 restrictions

BANGKOK, Thailand (ILO news) – Joblessness among young men and women in Thailand has reached a level unseen in recent years due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new brief from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) WHO Thailand Situation Report - 22 February 2021

The Thailand labour market update  found that youth employment fell by 7 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 (from the fourth quarter 2019). The youth unemployment rate increased by 3 percentage points for both men and women, reaching a high of 6 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively.

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