RPT-PREVIEW-Thai exports seen falling sharply, inflation down

Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:08am IST

 (Repeats story ahead of data release with no change to text)
 * What: November trade, current account, manufacturing,
December CPI
 * When: Trade and manufacturing on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 2:30
p.m. (0730 GMT); CPI on Monday, Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. (0700 GMT)
 * Exports seen falling biggest in at least two decades,
large trade, current account deficits, inflation down for fifth
month
 By Vithoon Amorn
 BANGKOK, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Thailand's exports took a heavy
double blow in November from weakening global demand and
disrupted shipments due to a week-long shutdown of Bangkok's
main airport by anti-government protesters, a Reuters survey
shows.
 The expected setback in exports, accounting for over 60
percent of gross domestic product, is prompting market
expectations of further monetary easing by the Bank of
Thailand, which cut interest rates by a bigger-than-expected
100 basis points in early December.
 Exports probably plunged 18 percent in November from a year
earlier, the first decline since March 2002 and the biggest
fall in at least two decades, according to the median of
forecasts by eight economists.
 "With the political protests coming on top of the general
downturn in trade around the world, you have the pretty ugly
numbers in November," David Cohen of Action Economics in
Singapore said, referring to the Bangkok airport blockade.
 "Everybody else had bad enough numbers and you had the
extra excitement in Bangkok," he said.
 Thousands of anti-government protesters forced Bangkok's
Suvarnabhumi airport, a regional aviation and cargo hub, to
stop operating during Nov. 25-Dec. 2.
 Early customs data showed November exports falling to a
16-month low of $11.9 billion from $15.3 billion in October.
 "From a policy perspective, collapsing exports and weak
domestic demand will keep the pressure on Bank of Thailand to
continue easing aggressively," HSBC economist Prakriti Sofat
said in a research note to clients.
At its last policy review, the BoT surprised markets by
slashing its 1-day repurchase rate by a full percentage point
to 2.75 percent in response to a rapidly slowing economy and
easing inflation.
 The surveyed analysts forecast that annual inflation,
restrained by low energy prices, would slow to a 15-month low
of 1.5 percent in December from 2.2 percent in November.
 Customs data showed all major markets cut orders from
Thailand. Exports to the United States fell 14.5 percent in
November from a year earlier, Japan down 8.4 percent, the
European Union 16.7 percent, ASEAN neighbours 30.6 percent, and
China 36.3 percent.
 The Kasikorn Research Center estimated the Bangkok airport
closure reduced November exports by $1.3 billion. Even without
its damage, exports would have been down by about 10 percent
from a year ago, it said.
 Analysts estimate that the export-sensitive manufacturing
production index (MPI) probably fell 1.1 percent in November
from a year ago, after a 2.0 percent rise in October and
double-digit growth in the first half of 2008.
 "The November MPI should be weak as manufacturers cut
production and ran down inventories, being concerned about the
global demand slump," economist Thanomsri Fongarunrung of
Phatra Securities said.
 Poll details (pct change in November from year earlier
unless stated)
                 MPI    Exp   Imp   Trade     C/A    CPI
(Dec)
                                     $mln    $mln  Main 
Core
 Action Economics  -8.0  -20.5   1.5  -1,200  -2,200   1.8  
2.0
 Capital Nomura   -14.5  -17.9   1.4  -1,070  -1,400   1.5  
1.7
 Kasikorn Res      -1.1  -18.7   1.6  -1,210  -1,460   1.4  
1.9
 Phatra Sec         1.0  -17.6   2.5  -1,170  -1,320   1.4  
1.7
 SCB Securities    -1.0  -18.0   2.0  -1,200  -1,400   1.0  
1.5
 Siam City Res      0.3  -18.0   2.9  -1,267  -1,767   1.1  
1.8
 Stanchart         -3.7  -18.8   2.2  -1,060  -1,360   1.6  
1.7
 Tisco Sec          2.9  -18.0   1.9  -1,152  -1,508   2.3  
1.9
 ---------------------------------------------------------------
 - Median            -1.1  -18.0   2.0  -1,185  -1,430   1.5  
1.8
 MPI = manufacturing production index
 C/A = current account
 CPI = consumer price index
 Previous actual data:
                 MPI    Exp   Imp   Trade     C/A      CPI
  2008                                 $mln    $mln   Main 
Core
 Nov                 ~      ~     ~       ~       ~    2.2  
2.0
 Oct                2.0    4.7  23.5   -964  -1,128    3.9  
2.4
 Sep                4.3   19.5  38.6    142    -703    6.0  
2.6
 Aug                7.8   15.5  26.9   -675    -853    6.4  
2.7
 Jul               11.1   43.9  53.4   -762    -906    9.2  
3.7
 Jun               11.3   28.5  31.5    926     334    8.9  
3.6
 May                9.0   22.1  15.7  1,268     506    7.6  
2.8
 Apr               10.0   28.7  42.1 -1,768  -1,856    6.2  
2.1
 Mar                9.2   16.2  32.1    342     791    5.3  
1.5
 Feb               15.0   18.5  32.9   -620     752    5.4  
1.5
 Jan               14.0   36.0  40.9    170   1,396    4.3  
1.2
  2007
 Dec               11.7   23.9  10.3  1,575   2,418    3.2  
1.2
 Nov               12.1   24.5  17.1  1,964   2,647    3.0  
1.1
 Oct               12.6   27.9  22.2  1,440   1,876    2.5  
1.0
 Sep                8.9   12.6   9.3  1,927   1,812    2.1  
0.8
 Aug               10.2   18.4  12.1    973     735    1.1  
0.7
 Jul                7.7    6.6   3.8     41     382    1.7  
0.8
 Jun                4.0   18.6   3.9  1,099   1,216    1.9  
0.7
 May                6.3   20.8   6.2    656     263    1.9  
0.7
 Apr                6.4   16.9  12.9   -266    -109    1.8  
1.2
 Mar                3.9   19.4   3.4  2,029   2,101    2.0  
1.3
 Feb                5.2   18.4   8.1    951   1,492    2.3  
1.4
 Jan                9.2   17.8   6.1    612   1,340    3.0  
1.6
  2006
 Dec                6.5   16.4   6.5    732   1,215    3.5  
1.5
 Nov                8.0   21.7   6.3  1,269   1,512    3.5  
1.7
 Oct                5.7   20.9   8.9    723     856    2.8  
1.8
 Sep                5.5   14.5   9.1  1,402     826    2.7  
1.9
 Aug                8.0   17.0  11.2    271     464    3.8  
1.9
 Jul                6.2   17.7  16.3   -223     -40    4.4  
2.0
 Jun                6.8   17.3   2.6   -425    -284    5.9  
2.7
 May                8.8   18.7   9.1   -760   -1285    6.2  
2.7
 Apr                4.1   11.5  -2.1   -520    -632    6.0  
2.9
 Mar               10.1   15.8   2.1    187     136    5.7  
2.6
 Feb               13.2   22.9  15.4    -24     318    5.6  
2.7
 Jan                5.8   14.8   0.5   -388     156    5.9  
2.5
 ~ Not available
 (Editing by Kazunori Takada)

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