Thai trade slumps most in four years

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thai protesterThailand announced a slump in trade figures on February 25 with the biggest drop in imports in more than four years in January 2014, as months of anti-government protests extended their economic toll beyond falling tourism numbers, Reuters reported.

Imports fell 15.5 per cent in January 2014 from a year earlier, the biggest tumble since October 2009. Imports of computers and parts were down 19 per cent from a year earlier, auto parts off 31.8 per cent and consumer goods 5.3 per cent. Exports dropped 2 per cent.

“Everybody is definitely delaying their imports (of consumer products) as most shopping malls are quiet,” said Nopporn Thepsitthar, chairman of the National Shippers’ Council. “Nobody dares to place big orders.”

Thai Airways International reported a big net loss of 12 billion baht ($369 million) for 2013, including a loss of 5.65 billion baht in the final three months of the year. Another loss is already expected for 2014.

The political unrest since November and a drop in the number of tourists visiting Thailand have added to the problems of the struggling flag carrier, whose chairman resigned last week, two months after the president said he was stepping down for health reasons. The Thai Hotel Association said this month that occupancy rates in the capital were hovering at around 50 per cent, well below the usual 80 per cent at this time of year.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, which ranks fourth among hotel brands in Thailand, has said the protests significantly hurt its business there in January. Thailand had a record year for tourists in 2013, with more than 26 million visitors, but the picture began to change in the final two months, which is normally the start of the high season. And arrivals in January were barely changed from a year earlier, Tourism Authority of Thailand figures show. Tourism accounts for about a tenth of Thailand’s gross domestic product.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thailand announced a slump in trade figures on February 25 with the biggest drop in imports in more than four years in January 2014, as months of anti-government protests extended their economic toll beyond falling tourism numbers, Reuters reported.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

thai protesterThailand announced a slump in trade figures on February 25 with the biggest drop in imports in more than four years in January 2014, as months of anti-government protests extended their economic toll beyond falling tourism numbers, Reuters reported.

Imports fell 15.5 per cent in January 2014 from a year earlier, the biggest tumble since October 2009. Imports of computers and parts were down 19 per cent from a year earlier, auto parts off 31.8 per cent and consumer goods 5.3 per cent. Exports dropped 2 per cent.

“Everybody is definitely delaying their imports (of consumer products) as most shopping malls are quiet,” said Nopporn Thepsitthar, chairman of the National Shippers’ Council. “Nobody dares to place big orders.”

Thai Airways International reported a big net loss of 12 billion baht ($369 million) for 2013, including a loss of 5.65 billion baht in the final three months of the year. Another loss is already expected for 2014.

The political unrest since November and a drop in the number of tourists visiting Thailand have added to the problems of the struggling flag carrier, whose chairman resigned last week, two months after the president said he was stepping down for health reasons. The Thai Hotel Association said this month that occupancy rates in the capital were hovering at around 50 per cent, well below the usual 80 per cent at this time of year.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, which ranks fourth among hotel brands in Thailand, has said the protests significantly hurt its business there in January. Thailand had a record year for tourists in 2013, with more than 26 million visitors, but the picture began to change in the final two months, which is normally the start of the high season. And arrivals in January were barely changed from a year earlier, Tourism Authority of Thailand figures show. Tourism accounts for about a tenth of Thailand’s gross domestic product.

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