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China, UAE, Russia to become major markets for Thai food in 2015

China, UAE, Russia to become major markets for Thai food in 2015

BANGKOK: China, Vietnam, the UAE and Russia will be highlighted markets for Thai food in 2015. The value of Thailand’s food exports, which has already passed the Bt1-trillion mark, will grow by nearly 7 percent next year, as lower fuel prices will reduce the cost of production and logistics. The Thai currency baht’s weakens and higher demand is seen also in new markets, particularly in Russia, experts say, the Thai newspaper The Nation reports.

However, some worrying factors remain. These include low crop prices, the poor economy in many countries causing consumers to watch their spending, and the cancellation of tariff privileges by the European Union.This year, food exports are expected to surge by 15.4 per cent year on year to reach Bt1.01 trillion for the first time in history, thanks mainly to higher shipments of rice, tapioca, chicken, and higher-value-added and processed foods. Shrimp exports are still suffering from the impact of early mortality syndrome (EMS).

The value of food exports is expected to continue growing next year amid the weakening baht, and producers have focused more on processed foods and value-added products, while lower oil prices will encourage more consumption. Exports should grow strongly to emerging markets like China, Russia, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates,” said National Food Institute president Petch Chinabutr.

In 2015, rice export is expected to grow by 2.4 per cent, tapioca 9.4 per cent, chicken 7.1 per cent, shrimp 20.4 per cent, canned tuna 0.7 per cent, and seasoning 7.4 per cent. Export of seasoning will expand strongly, thanks to more demand for Thai food and a rising number of Thai restaurants overseas. But shipment of canned pineapple is expected to decline 3 per cent next year and sugar to drop 5.4 per cent as import markets for those products shrink, while drought risks make production uncertain.

China has a trade deficit in food every year because of its large population and economic growth in its large cities. Products that will see strong demand in China are processed foods, energy drinks, dried fruits, fresh fruits, infant foods, frozen goods, food supplements and snacks.

Export to UAE will increase strongly next year, since that country serves as a distribution centre to other parts of the MiddleEast and is also home to a lot of foreign labourers. Halal foods will have high potential for export to that market.