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Thai exports seen up 3-4% this year, but strong baht weighs - shippers

02/02/2021 | 02:18am EDT

BANGKOK, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Thai exports are expected to grow by 3% to 4% this year as the global economy recovers, but a stubbornly strong baht currency remains a worry, the shippers' council said on Tuesday.

Exports, a key driver of Thai growth, could perform better than expected on vaccine developments and if the government provides more support, Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, chairwoman of the Thai National Shippers' Council, told a briefing.

"Last year's exports were quite satisfactory, declining less than expected, at 6%, suggesting an economic recovery in some countries," she said. "So we think the trade picture this year should not be worse".

However, exports might not be good in the first quarter due to a container shortage and the strength of the baht, she said. The baht traded at 29.97 against the U.S. dollar at 0646 GMT and has gained 10.6% since last April.

"If the baht appreciates to 28 per dollar, as many have predicted, it will definitely hit exports," she said, adding the group wanted the central bank to keep the currency competitive.

A military coup in Myanmar had yet to affect Thailand's trade with borders remaining open and most exports to the neighbouring country consisting of consumer goods, said council vice chairman Visit Limluecha.

He noted there had been a history of military interventions in politics in Myanmar over the last few decades, but said "we will monitor if there is any medium to long-term impact."

Last year, exports to Myanmar was worth about $3.8 billion, or 1.6% of Thailand's total shipments. (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon and Satawasin Staporncharnchai Writing by Orathai Sriring Editing by Ed Davies)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
EURO / THAI BAHT (EUR/THB) -0.09% 39.162 Delayed Quote.6.92%
US DOLLAR / THAI BAHT (USD/THB) -0.06% 33.13 Delayed Quote.10.06%
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