SME GDP up by over 4%

The gross domestic product (GDP) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is expected to grow between 4.3-4.7% this year on the back of improving international market conditions, with exports expected to grow 7.2% at the year-end.

According to the Office of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion (Osmep), last year SMEs' GDP amounted to 4.4 trillion baht, with exports valued at 1.8 trillion baht.

Osmep reported yesterday shipments by SMEs in January rose 10% year-on-year to 157.3 billion baht driven mainly by higher purchases by key trading partners in light of their economic recovery.

''Thailand's main export markets — China, Japan, US, Malaysia — have grown continuously month on month except for Indonesia, which contracted slightly,'' said Osmep director-general Patima Jeerapaet.

Biggest export items consisted of gems, jewellery, plastic items, machinery, rubber-based products, computer and electronics appliances. In term of values, exports by SMEs accounted for 27% of total exports.

Imports by SMEs contracted 26.96% to 188.3 billion baht in January. In terms of value, imports by SMEs account for 28% of total imports.

According to Mr Patima, the tapering of the quantitative easing (QE) by the US is expected to weaken the baht which will make exports more competitive and boost the tourism sector.

In January, according to Osmep, 5,317 new SMEs registered, down 35% from the same period last year. Most new SMEs are in sectors such as construction and real estate of residential properties, construction materials and machinery distribution and equipment.

Thailand's 2.7 million SMEs account for 98.5% of total businesses, employing 11.8 million people or about 80% of the workforce.

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