May 14, 2019 / 8:39 AM / 4 months ago

Thailand fears losing $6.7 billion in exports due to latest U.S.-China tariff salvo

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s could lose between $5.6 billion to $6.7 billion in exports this year as a result of higher U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, with shipments of electronics and automobiles expected to decline sharply, the Thai commerce ministry said on Tuesday.

Like other export-focused Asian economies, Thailand has been caught in the crossfire of a trade war between the United States, its largest export market, and its second largest, China.

The tariff war has sent a chill through firms from Thailand and other third countries that form part of the supply chains for Chinese exporters, Pimchanok Vonkhorporn, a commerce ministry officials said.

Moreover, Thai exports to China of products that Chinese exporters now find difficult to sell in the United States are expected to fall, the Thai official said.

The impact on exports would be equivalent to between 2.2%-2.6% of total exports in 2018, according to the ministry.

In the first quarter of 2019, Thai exports contracted 1.6 percent from a year earlier, customs data showed.

Last month, the central bank said exports might grow less than its 3% forecast this year.

Thailand’ central bank will review any impact on the Thai economy at its next monetary policy meeting on June 19, Chantavarn Sucharitakul, an assistant governor, said in a separate statement on Tuesday.

Last week, the central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.75% and said economic growth this year could be less than its 3.8% forecast.

Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Kitiphong Thaichareon; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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