Thailand's exports dip 0.3 percent in January; speed limit will be raised to 120kph in April

BANGKOK, Feb 27 (Xinhua): The value of Thailand's merchandise exports fell 0.3 percent year on year in January, data from the central bank showed.

Excluding gold exports, which contracted due to a high base effect last year, the country's exports value expanded 5.5 percent from one year earlier last month, in line with improving demand from trading partners, the Bank of Thailand said.

The 0.3-percent dip, following a 4.7-percent growth in December, undershot a projected growth of 2.7 percent, as container shortage, higher transportation costs and a stronger local currency weighed on the export sector, the Kasikorn Research Center said.

The research center expected the country's export value to expand 3 percent from one year earlier in 2021.

The central bank said the Thai economy was more obviously affected in January by the new wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, which erupted in mid-December, leading to a more uneven economic recovery.

A breakdown of data showed the country's exports of automotive and parts, electrical appliances and agricultural manufacturing products recorded strong growth.

The value of merchandise imports fell 6.9 percent year on year last month, according to the central bank.

Meanwhile, the speed limit for roads with four lanes or more will be raised from 90 kilometres per hour to 120kph, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has announced, according to The Nation Thailand.

He said the new speed limit should be announced in the Royal Gazette by April, after a study by the Department of Highways, Department of Rural Roads, Department of Land Transport and Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning.

“The new speed limit aims to help traffic flow under current traffic conditions while ensuring road users’ convenience and safety, ” he said.

Saksayam explained the ministry found it was suitable to raise the speed limit for personal vehicles of less than seven seats from 90kph to 120kph on straight sections of roads with more than four lanes and no intersections or U-turns.

“To qualify, the roads must have clear lane markings as well as median barriers to divide traffic, ” he said.

“Each road will be fitted with speed-limit signs corresponding to the conditions, for example, maximum speeds of 30kph in city or school areas, 60kph on bends, intersections or U-turns, and 120kph on straight stretches.

"Meanwhile, the rightmost lane will have a minimum speed of 100kph to prevent rear-ending accidents in the fast lane.”

The ministry will also raise the speed limit for other vehicles on eligible roads. Vehicles with more than 15 seats or weighing over 2,200kg will be limited to 90kph, tricycles and towing trucks to 65kph, motorcycles to 80kph, big bikes (over 400cc) to 110kph, school buses to 80kph, and passenger vehicles with more than 7 seats but less than 15, to 100kph.

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