Thailand: Private sector forecasts deeper export decline hinh anh 1A car factory in Thailand (Photo: Reuters)

Bangkok (VNA) Thailand’s private sector has lowered the country’s export forecast to a 1.8 percent contraction this year due to the slowing world economy, widespread domestic drought and the deadly virus outbreak.

Sanan Angubolkul, Vice Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), said representatives from many trade associations were consulted before the forecast of 242 billion USD for export value was decided, according to local media.

Late last year, Sanan predicted exports would see zero growth at best.

"This year a number of risk factors, particularly the coronavirus outbreak, widespread drought, the world's economic slowdown and the strong baht are slowing exports," Sanan was quoted by the Bangkok Post newspaper as saying.

He urged the government and related stakeholders to rein in the country's foreign exchange rate to stay competitive at 32 baht per dollar.

According to Sanan, the TCC estimates that agricultural exports will drop by 0.9 percent this year to 40.1 billion USD, led by rubber, tapioca products and sugar. Exports of rubber are forecast to drop by 5 percent to 3.94 billion USD this year, with tapioca products dipping 15 percent to 2.22 billion USD and sugar falling 16.3 percent to 2.5 billion USD.

Meanwhile, rice shipments are estimated to increase 0.1 percent this year to 4.21 billion USD, with food up 2.6 percent to reach 23.3 billion USD.

Besides, industrial exports are projected to drop 2 percent to 193 billion USD.

Sanan said the main revenue contributors to the country remain in the doldrums, especially automobiles and parts, because of lower demand in the world market and Asia. At the same time, technology changes and ongoing manufacturing base relocation by foreign firms continue to hit electronics and parts.

Thailand's exports last year fell by 2.7 percent from 2018.

According to a Commerce Ministry report, customs-cleared exports for the whole of 2019 totalled 246 billion USD, with imports dropping 4.7 percent to 237 billion USD, generating a trade surplus of 9.6 billion USD./.