Recently published research from Business Monitor International, "Thailand Shipping Report Q3 2013", is now available at Fast Market Research
Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/09/2013 -- Resilient But Wobbly Growth Pattern
The Thai economy grew very strongly in Q412, and then weakened abruptly in Q113. Year-on-year GDP growth in the last quarter of 2012 was a spectacular 18.9%, which then dipped to a below-consensus 5.3% in the first quarter of 2013. To some extent, this was to be expected. Given base effects (in Q411 the country was hit by devastating floods), the end-2012 growth number was always going to be somewhat offthe- scale. It was also boosted by one-off vehicle tax rebates and the government's costly programme of rice subsidies. In contrast, since the beginning this year, neighbouring countries have been easing down interest rates, making the Thai currency appear comparatively overvalued. With the exception of the booming automobile sector, exports are encountering headwinds from sluggish world demand. We also believe that, in the second half of this year, mainland China's rebalancing process will lead to somewhat slower growth there, with a consequential downside impact on the region as a whole. The upshot is that, with some ups and downs across quarters, we expect GDP growth of 4.0% in 2013. This is down from the 6.4% achieved last year, and weaker than the Bloomberg consensus for 2013 which stands at 4.8%.
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As for industry-specific factors, port and shipping growth will be broadly in line with the pace of GDP and foreign trade growth, although we have trimmed some of our forecasts relative to our last quarterly report. We note, however, that according to our forecasts in 2013 GDP will grow by 4.0%, while foreign trade will expand by a slightly higher 5.4%.
Headline Industry Data
- Gross tonnage at Laem Chabang, the country's largest port, set to rise by 5.0%, to 45.51mn tonnes in 2013 (faster than the forecast 4.0% GDP growth for the year).
- Box handling at the same port to rise 2.7%, to 6.086mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
- At the Port of Bangkok, BMI projects that tonnage growth will slow to 4.1% in 2013, at 19.41mn tonnes, with container handling set to grow 6.5%, to 1.488mn TEUs.
- We expect the real value of foreign trade to grow 5.4% in 2013, up from 4.5% the year before. Imports will be up by 6.4%, ahead of exports that will grow by 4.4%.
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