Bangkok (VNA) – On the back of an export boom in April, the Thai National Shippers' Council (TNSC) feels upbeat that the country's exports could rise by 10 – 15 percent this year.

TNSC President Chaichan Chareonsuk said export prospects have improved thanks to the global economic recovery, economic growth in major trading partners and healthy export demand for industrial products, for examples automobiles, electrical appliances, equipment and parts, and oil-related products such as plastic pellets and chemicals.

More importantly, he said vaccination rates keep climbing across much of the world.

Thai exports have a chance to grow by up to 15 percent this year, assuming Thailand accelerates its imports to 2.01-2.25 million TEU empty containers per year, said Chaichan.

The country needs to manage appropriate freight rates and supply labour to the manufacturing sector. The government also needs to expedite its efforts to lower import costs for raw materials such as steel, and limit logistics costs for raw material imports and exports, he added.

He said the government is being urged to speed up inoculations among workers in the logistics and manufacturing sectors, especially those working at ports, airports or vulnerable gateways to the country.

A weaker baht also helps boost export prospects, said Chaichan. If the baht stays at an average of 32 to the US dollar, it would improve the country's export performance and raise Thai competitiveness.

However, the TNSC is maintaining its export growth forecast of 6 – 7 percent this year.

Thai exports are maintaining healthy growth momentum, fetching more than 20 billion USD for three consecutive months and recording the highest growth rate in 36 months in April.

The Commerce Ministry reported on May 25 customs-cleared exports rose for a second consecutive month, jumping by 13.1 percent year-on-year to 21.4 billion USD in April, after 8.47 percent growth in March and a 2.59 percent contraction in February.

For the first four months of 2021, exports expanded by 4.78 percent to 85.6 billion USD, while imports rose by 13.9 percent to 84.9 billion USD, resulting in a trade surplus of 698 million USD./.