Thailand's Q2 GDP expands by 4.2% as manufacturing improves

20 August 2012 08:33  [Source: ICIS news]

Map Ta Phut, ThailandSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thailand’s economy expanded by 4.2% year on year in the second quarter of 2012 amid a recovery in its manufacturing sector following the devastating floods last year, official data showed on Monday.

The country’s GDP grew a seasonally adjusted 3.3% in April-June this year, compared with the preceding quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said in a statement.

“The positive development [in the manufacturing sector] was the result of a recovery in the production capacity of flood-affected industrial factories,” it said.

Last year, Thailand's worst flooding in 50 years affected a third of all provinces in the country and caused numerous industrial hubs north of capital Bangkok to shut, resulting in billions of dollars in damages and severe supply disruptions to industry.

Thailand is the largest car-producing country in southeast Asia.

The manufacturing sector grew by 2.7% in the second quarter of this year, compared with a contraction of 4.3% in the preceding quarter, the first expansion since the fourth quarter of 2011, the NESDB said.

The manufacturing sector’s capacity utilisation rate grew to 69.2% in the second quarter of this year, from 62.6% in the previous quarter, it said.

Meanwhile, the country’s overall exports fell by 0.4% year on year to $56.7bn (€45.9bn) in the second quarter, according to the NESDB.

Thailand's economy is now expected to grow by 5.5-6.0% year on year in 2012, lower than a previous forecast of 5.5-6.5% made in May this year, because of weak global demand, it said.

“Going forward, the lacklustre global economic outlook does not bode well for [Thailand’s] external demand,” said Singapore-based DBS Group Research.

“Pent-up demand is currently helping to drive exports for electronics and vehicles. But with final demand unlikely to recover sharply, the pace of export growth is set to slow,” it added.

Uncertainly about global demand growth weighed heavily on chemical producers in Thailand in the second quarter of this year, resulting in a steep drop in product prices, with PTT Global Chemical  (PTTGC) posting a 90% year-on-year drop in its net profit. Industrial conglomerate Siam Cement Group (SCG) registered a 43% fall in its second-quarter 2012 net income.

($1 = €0.81)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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