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Thai business group keeps GDP forecast but upgrades export outlook

BANGKOK, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Thailand’s economy is still expected to contract by 7%-9% this year although exports could shrink less than previously projected as the coronavirus pandemic remains a risk, a group of the country’s top business associations said on Wednesday.

The group now predicts exports will drop 8%-10%, rather than fall 10%-12% as seen earlier, after recent improved shipments, according to a joint standing committee on commerce, industry and banking.

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

The economy should continue to recover later this year, helped by the country’s COVID-19 controls and government stimulus measures, Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, told a briefing.

“But the fourth quarter is a challenge as there are new outbreaks in several countries and we are worried that could be a problem for exports in future,” he said. (Reporting by Satawasin Staporncharnchai Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty)