Thailand’s exports forecast to drop 8 percent due to COVID-19 hinh anh 1Illustrative photo. (Source: AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – Despite the easing of lockdown measures and higher demand in several export categories, Thailand's shipments are still forecast to contract by 8 percent this year, according to the Thai National Shippers' Council (TNSC).

TNSC chairwoman Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong said the pandemic has ravaged major economies, especially Thailand's important trading partners such as the US, the EU and China.

Higher household debt and lower purchasing power are expected in all countries throughout the world, she said.

More importantly, transport remains inconvenient in many areas because of the lockdown measures, while the business sector's operating costs keep rising, the baht has started to appreciate and global oil prices are highly volatile because of continuously shrinking demand and escalating conflict between the US and Iran, she added.

The Thai Commerce Ministry reported on April 21 that exports unexpectedly rose 4.2 percent year-on-year in March to 22.4 billion USD, marking the biggest expansion in eight months and the highest value in 19 months.

For the first quarter of 2020, exports grew 0.9 percent year-on-year to 62.67 billion USD. Excluding gold, oil and weaponry, exports were up 1.1 percent in the period.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office under the Commerce Ministry, said the ministry remains positive that exports are unlikely to plunge by 8-10 percent this year as predicted.

Despite challenging global factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, there are supporting factors for exports during the rest of 2020, including the nation's strength and competency in food and agricultural industry and essential goods, China's recovery from the outbreak and baht depreciation, she said./.