Bangkok (VNA) - Thailand's Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) predicted that the country’seconomy will contract by 7-9 percent this year, although exports could shrink less than previously projected, because the coronavirus pandemic remains a risk.

The committee said it stood by its projection of an economic contraction of 7-9 percent and inflation to fall 1-1.5 percent this year.

However, exports were expected to drop 8-10 percent, instead of the 10-12 percent forecast earlier, after recent improved shipments.

Southeast Asia's second-largest economy posted its deepest fall in over two decades in the second quarter as the outbreak hammered the tourism and export sectors, which accounted for about 60 percent of GDP last year.

Local media quoted Kalin Sarasin, Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and JSCCIB, as saying that the Thai economy should recover later this year thanks to the government’s COVID-19 control and stimulus measures.

But the fourth quarter is a challenge as there are new outbreaks in several countries and that could be a problem for exports in future, he said.

Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce reported in late September that the country’s export value improved in August, reaching over 20 billion USD for the first time in five months./.