Thailand exports seen up

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    BANGKOK – Thai exports are expected to grow 3 percent to 5 percent next year after a contraction of up to 7 percent in 2020, the shippers’ council said on Tuesday, helped by free trade agreements and developments on COVID-19 vaccines, though concerns about a strong baht persist.

    “Signing of the RCEP agreement is good news for exporters,” Jintana Sirisantana, secretary general of the Thai National Shippers’ Council said, referring to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade agreement.

    News of an effective vaccine and China’s economic recovery also would help exports recover, she added.

    Exports, a key driver of the Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, are expected to contract 6 percent to 7 percent in 2020, the group said, adding exports should recover to pre-COVID levels by 2022.

    However, an appreciating baht posed a challenge for the recovery.