On Tuesday, a Thai shipping association said, Bangkok could lose as much as $64.6 million (2 billion baht) in exports to China in the first quarter due to the outbreak of the coronavirus; this is yet another example of the virus having a material impact on supply chains.
The exports of fresh fruits and vegetables will be the worst hit, said Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, group chairwoman of Thai National Shippers’ Council.
China was Thailand’s second-largest export market in 2019, purchasing goods worth $29.2 billion, which is equivalent to 11.8% of Thailand’s total exports.
The Thai shipping association has maintained its forecast for overall export growth of 0-1% for 2020, as it expects the coronavirus to cut shipments by around 0.11%, said Ghanyapad.
Thailand may also get buyers who are seeking to replace Chinese products, she said.
Exports are a key driver of Thailand’s economy. In 2019, they dropped by 2.65% due to global trade tensions and a stronger baht.
So far, the coronavirus pandemic has affected thousands in China and has killed 420 in that country alone; the pandemic is expected to disrupt supply chains across the commodities and energy sectors.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), which has declared the coronavirus as a global emergency, and experts, there are a lot of unknowns regarding the pathogen of the coronavirus, including its transmission pathways and mortality rate.