Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/23/2012 -- Floods and World Economy Weigh on Forecasts
BMI View: Although BMI thinks Thailand's post-2011 floods economic recovery is losing steam, we are still moderately optimistic about 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 that 5% per annum mark for the next few years.
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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.
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 estimated 4.1% growth in 2011).
- At the Port of Bangkok BMI projects tonnage growth will reach 5.8% in 2012 (up from 2.4% in 2011) to 17.81mn tonnes.
- We now 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%.
- 2012 air freight tonnage growth forecast at 4.9% and to average 4.4% a year to 2016.
- 2012 rail freight tonnage throughput growth forecast at 7.1% and to average 6.2% a year to 2016.
Key Industry Trends
Air Freight Volume In Positive Territory In 2012
Although there is no comprehensive data for the first months of this year, everything suggests that BMI is on track with its projection of positive growth. Cargo imports at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport increased year-on-year (y-o-y) in Q112 despite the catastrophic floods of 2011, according to Stewart Sinclair, managing director of Thai ground handling firm Bangkok Flight Services. We expect air freight volume to grow aided by the re-opening of Don Mueang airport in Bangkok in April (it was closed late in 2011 because of flood damage).
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