Shippers expect the coronavirus outbreak to have the greatest effect on farm product exports, notably fresh fruits and vegetables, with an impact also seen on imports of raw materials to make certain finished products like automotive tyres and face masks.
The Thai National Shippers’ Council estimates the outbreak to hit exports of Thai products bound for China to the tune of 2 billion baht in the first quarter, said chairwoman Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, citing China’s closure of land, water and air transport to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
“Nonetheless, we believe there will be a flood of purchase orders from China, notably for raw materials to produce consumer products to cater to Chinese consumers, once businesses in China resume work after Feb 10 as announced,” she said. “This will offer an opportunity to Thai exporters to ramp up their exports.”
China last year constituted 11.8% of Thailand’s total exports.
The council forecasts Thai exports to eke out growth of 0.1% in the first quarter of 2020, with the performance likely to improve in the second quarter if China succeeds in keeping the outbreak under control.
Economic losses incurred from the virus are reckoned at 117 billion baht or 0.67 percentage points of GDP, Ms Ghanaian said.
The estimates assume that the outbreak is under control within three months.
“We expect the impact of the new virus to be short-lived and believe China could control the spread to prevent adverse impact on its own economic growth,” Ms Ghanaian said. “If the outbreak is prolonged, we expect Thailand to obtain benefits as buyers shift to buying products from Thailand in lieu of China.”