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Severe drought to cut Thailand's farm earnings, may hurt GDP

Published on Apr 8, 2014 3:49 PM

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Severe drought in Thailand is expected to reduce production of commodities such as rice and rubber, the agriculture minister said on Tuesday, cutting export earnings at a time when economic growth is under pressure from a political crisis.

The lingering crisis has led to the installation of a caretaker government, hurt consumer confidence and damaged tourism, leading the Bank of Thailand to trim its forecast for 2014 economic growth to 2.7 per cent.

"We don't know for sure how big the (production) falls will be, but we expect to have an official forecast later in June. It depends on how long the dry season lasts," Agriculture Minister Yukol Limleamthong told Reuters.

Thailand is the world's biggest rubber exporter, the second-biggest sugar exporter and the third-biggest rice exporter. The commodities generate around US$11.5 billion (S$14 billion) annually, according to Commerce Ministry data.

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