THAILAND: Political crisis could depress clothing exports
Manufacturers have been continuing to fulfil existing export orders
Thailand's garment industry has not yet felt an economic impact from the country's ongoing political unrest, but the unstable environment presents a serious challenge moving forward, a senior industry figure told just-style.
Chartchai Singhadeja, director of the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association's Overseas Trade and Investment Centre, said that large-scale manufacturers are fulfilling existing export orders without a notable drop off.
However, there is concern in the industry over declining orders moving forward as buyers from importing countries are staying away from Thailand.
"Our buyers don't want to come to do business in Bangkok, now because the situation is not good. So we have to fly out to Hong Kong or anywhere they want us to meet and negotiate and do business out of Thailand," he said.
Industries such as tourism and retail have already been staggering from more than two months of political protests that have left at least ten dead and hundreds more injured.
Thailand recently cut its 2014 GDP growth estimate from 5.1% in December to 3.1%, and the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has dropped almost 12% [11.86%] from 31 October through 27 January.
Thailand's total garment and clothing exports from January through November 2013 were US$2.63bn, a drop of 3.1% from the same period in 2012, according to the latest figures from the ministry of finance.
Domestic clothing consumption is also suffering, according to Chartchai, who said trade has been slow during the normally busy period before Chinese New Year. "Export is still not so bad," he said. "But that's for now."
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