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Little impact on S'pore firms despite Thai crisis

The ongoing political crisis in Thailand has so far had little impact on imports from, and exports to, the country.

SINGAPORE: The ongoing political crisis in Thailand has so far had little impact on imports from, and exports to, the country.

According to the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Thai electronics imports rose 14 per cent in the first quarter of this year, with supply chains functioning fine.

Even with martial law being declared, it seems to be largely business as usual, at least for Singapore businesses.

Tourist arrivals from Thailand to Singapore grew 3.6 per cent in the final quarter of last year, and MTI officials say those numbers appear to have been strong early this year.

But while the visitors continue to come, the ongoing political crisis seems to have taken a toll on flights to and from Thailand.

"Where it has had an impact is… our airport,” said Ow Foong Pheng, Permanent Secretary for MTI.

“As an air hub, I think the reduction in terms of air travel into Thailand has impacted us. So for both inbound and outbound to Thailand, it's actually dropped, I think, by 18 per cent."

Even with Thailand now under martial law, Singapore businesses with links to the kingdom seem to have taken things in their stride.

Serviced residence operator Ascott, which manages nine properties in Bangkok, says operations have not been disrupted.

It has, however, heightened security measures at its properties and gives regular updates to guests.

BreadTalk Group, which has 28 food outlets in Bangkok, intends to invest more in Thailand as it is a key market for the company.

"Business is as normal, and operations are as usual. We don't see customers purposely avoiding the outlets or the malls, you know, for fear of any safety precautions," said Joyce Koh, group senior vice-president for brand development at BreadTalk Group.

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority says Singapore's food imports from Thailand have been stable.

Supermarket chains FairPrice and Sheng Siong also say that supplies and prices of products from Thailand have remained stable. 

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