Thai exports to ASEAN during 1H10 resumed growth of 55.2 percent YoY, after experiencing a 19-percent contraction in 2009. This was our highest export performance to any major market. They are likely to continue to grow during 2H10, albeit at a slower pace. Such a slowdown would likely be due to slowing ASEAN economies because their exports – the main driver for growth – have been dampened by faltering economic growth now being experienced by major trade partners, particularly the USA, EU and Japan. Another downside would be the tightening monetary policy adopted by several ASEAN countries to contain inflation, which may hurt their domestic demand. Given this, Thai exports to ASEAN in 2H10 may record lower growth than in 1H10. Another negative factor lies in a high base of comparison for 2H10 with the latter half of 2009.
Meanwhile, the trade liberalization privileges permitted by AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area) will remain a supporting factor for our export shipments to ASEAN markets over the remainder of the year. It is expected that Thai exports to ASEAN destinations will exhibit slower growth of around 25-30 percent YoY, thus putting our full-year export growth in a range of 40-43 percent.