Bangkok (VNA) – The Thai National Shippers' Council (TNSC) on August 12 asked the Bank of Thailand to seek ways to relieve pressure on exports as the baht continues to strengthen.

Local media quoted TNSC vice chairman Visit Limluecha as saying that he had discussed the matter with governor of the Bank of Thailand (BoT) Veerathai Santiprabhob. The rising baht is hurting the competitiveness of Thai exports, he said.

He said the council did not specify an appropriate level for the baht value and did not ask the central bank to interfere with its value. It only asked the BoT to relax conditions for its soft loan programme so as to widen access to credit for small business operators.

Earlier this month, the TNSC said Thai exports may fall by as much as 15 percent if the country averages just 16.4 billion USD a month in the second half of 2020. TNSC chairwoman Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong said that the council looks to downgrade its shipment forecast if the overall export performance remains unimproved next month.

In July, Thai shippers downgraded the country’s export outlook to a 10 percent contraction, deeper than the previous forecast of an 8 percent drop, due to the coronavirus crisis and the strong baht.

Weakening purchasing power and the ailing economies of key trading partners were key components in the TNSC’s export forecast cut.

The council is keeping this year’s export forecast at a 10-percent contraction, she noted. Given a raft of negative factors, she warned that shipments may fall by 15 percent if the monthly figures for the remaining months do not improve and total less than 17 billion USD a month.

According to the Thai Commerce Ministry, exports tumbled 23.2 percent year-on-year in June, the weakest pace since July 2009.

During the first half of the year, exports fell 7.1 percent from the same period last year to 114 billion USD, while imports dropped 12.6 percent to 104 billion USD./.