Chamber of Commerce: Virus to Slash Thai Trade Value by Half

The Grand Palace on June 8, 2020, when the palace grounds were reopened after closing for two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — A Bangkok-based academic research institution on Thursday said in a press briefing that its findings estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic will reduce the value of Thai trade to 423.05 billion baht (13.45 billion U.S. dollars) from 1.02 trillion baht.

The industries most affected by the pandemic are automobiles, motorcycles and auto parts, whose values are estimated at between 129.36 billion baht and 314.619 billion baht, said Dr. Aat Pisanwanich, director of Center for International Trade Studies (CITS), University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

He also said other industries to be affected include electrical appliances and electronics, plastic, fuel, chemicals and food and beverages.

Aat also said that the value of overall Thai exports during 2020 will stand at around 222.74 billion U.S. dollars, contracting by 9.6 percent to 13.5 percent, the lowest since 2009.

He said exports in the first half of this year dropped by 7.1 percent and is expected to hit 20 percent in the worst-case scenario as the number of COVID-19 patients across the world continue rising daily and the demand of products from Thailand’s trade partners keeps dropping.

However, he said, the relaxing of lockdown measures in several countries is benefiting Thai exports.

Aat also said that if a COVID-19 vaccine is successfully found in the third quarter, then Thai exports will contract by 423.05 billion baht, but if it is only found in the fourth quarter, then the value of Thai exports will drop by 729.246 billion baht.

“However, should Thailand fail in offering a vaccine this year, then Thailand will lose 1.028 trillion baht in export.

The director, however, reckons that sales of some products such as processed food and beverages, seasoning, animal feed and rubber gloves may rise amid the pandemic. (1 U.S. dollar equals 31.44 baht)