Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/20/2012 -- BMI View: Floods and World Economy Weigh on Forecasts
Although BMI thinks Thailand's post-2011 floods economic recovery is losing steam, we are still moderately optimistic on the outlook for the country's ports and shipping sector. We see GDP growth of 4.0% this year, followed by 4.4% in 2013, which will provide a degree of support for the industry. Admittedly, foreign trade growth will fall by half in 2012 compared to the preceding year (down from 11.6% to 5.3% in real terms). But on the plus side we see foreign trade growing at just above 5% per annum for the next few years.
As for industry-specific factors, some of the worst fears about the impact of last year's floods now seem to be receding. One of these was that multinational companies active in the Thai manufacturing sector might conclude that damage to the supply chain was irreparable, and therefore relocate their activities to areas less exposed to flooding or other natural hazards. Some six months on, however, automobile exports from Thailand are recovering at a healthy pace.
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Headline Industry Data
- Gross tonnage at Laem Chabang, the country's largest port, set to rise by 6.8% to 57.23mn tonnes in 2012 (faster than the forecast 4.0% GDP growth for this year).
- Box handling at the same port to rise 6.7% to 6.116mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
- At the Port of Bangkok BMI projects that tonnage growth will reach 5.8% in 2012 (up from 2.4% in 2011) to 17.81mn tonnes, with container handling set to grow 5.4% to 1.376mn TEUs.
- We expect the real value of foreign trade to grow 5.25% in 2012, with imports up by 5.5% and exports marginally behind at 5.0%.
Key Industry Trends
Precious Shipping Losing Money But Still Buying Boats
Precious Shipping, the largest Thai dry bulk shipping company, posted a net loss of THB40.96mn (US$1.33mn) for the quarter, down from a net profit of THB108.63m in the same period of 2011. It said the move into the red was caused by rising running expenses and falling freight rates. Despite slipping into the red, Precious is continuing with its fleet expansion plans. In February, the company obtained a credit facility of US$100mn from the Export-Import Bank of Thailand for the acquisition of new or second-hand dry bulk vessels. We caution, however, that while these strategies are bringing orders at a difficult time for shipbuilders, owners that continue ordering run the risk of helping to prolong the ongoing rates depression caused by the current overcapacity in the sector.
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