Thai 2020 exports seen down if baht beats f’cast

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    BANGKOK- Thailand’s exports may contract 5 percent this year if its currency baht strengthens more than expected against the US dollar, a Thai shipping association said on Tuesday.

    However, the Thai National Shippers’ Council is keeping its 2020 export forecast for Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy at between zero and 1 percent growth on an assumption that the baht will be 30.5 per dollar this year, group chairwoman Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong said in a statement.

    A stronger baht impacts exporters as they earn in dollars.

    “But if the baht appreciates more than our forecast, exports might decline 5 percent this year,” she said.

    The baht was at 30.13 against the dollar on Tuesday, after soaring nearly 9 percent in 2019, the most among its Asian peers.

    For 2019, the group still predicts exports – a key driver for the Thai economy – will decline between 2.5 percent and 3.0 percent, hit by global trade tensions and the strong baht. – Reuters