Rice sacks at a factory in Bangkok, Thailand (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (NNT/VNA) - The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) has forecast export growth this year at between 8 and 9 percent, after June exports grew in almost every market and there was a smaller-than-expected impact from recent trade barriers.

Exports in June extended a 16-month growth streak to over 21.7 billion USD, an 8.2 percent increase from the same month last year. Growth was reported in almost all markets, including Europe, Japan, China, India, the CLMV cluster of neighbouring countries and the US market, which saw record expansion. The only exception was the Middle East, where exports reported a third month of contraction due to political unrest.

Nonetheless, the TNSC advised that risk factors include US trade barriers, exchange rate volatility, conflicts in the Middle East that could send oil prices higher, as well as the current price slump in certain agricultural products, such as rubber.

The council suggests that Thailand seek alternatives to markets affected by the current trade dispute, leverage benefits under existing free trade agreements and seek new partnerships. It also called for greater use of local currencies for trading, in order to reduce dependency on the US dollar.-NNT/VNA