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Thai exports to fall 10% this year, import slump a worry -shippers

BANGKOK, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Thailand’s exports could fall by 10% this year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a persistently strong baht, a Thai shipping association said on Tuesday, warning that a slump in imports was also a worry.

Exports should not decline 15% as previously feared because of July’s improved shipments, but tumbling imports will likely be a drag, Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, chairwoman of the Thai National Shippers’ Council, told reporters.

“We expect exports to fall by up to 10% this year... and hope shipments will increase in the fourth quarter,” she said.

“But we are worried that steady falls in imports will weigh on manufacturing and an export recovery”.

In July, exports, a key driver of Thai growth, fell a less than expected 11.37% from a year earlier, while imports declined 26.4%.

The baht was at 31.38 per U.S. dollar at 0740 GMT, but that is still much stronger than the 33 per dollar needed to help exports, Ghanyapad said. (Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Kitiphong Thaichareon Satawasin Staporncharnchai Editing by Ed Davies)

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