December 21, 2016 / 5:30 AM / 7 months ago

Thai industry body raises domestic car sales forecast for 2017

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BANGKOK, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Thailand's domestic car sales are expected at 800,000 units next year, up from an earlier estimate of 780,000, as a recovering economy lifts demand, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said on Wednesday.

The FTI last month predicted a 4 percent rise in car sales in 2017. Its estimate for this year is 750,000 cars.

Car exports are expected to be 1.2 million units next year, up from 1.18-1.19 million cars predicted for 2016, Surapong Paisitpattanapong, spokesman for the FTI's Auto Industry, told reporters.

Annual domestic auto sales have been weak since May 2013, following the fading effect of a government first-car subsidy scheme, which ended in 2012, when sales jumped 81 percent.

Thailand is a regional vehicle production and export base for the world's top carmakers. (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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