Thai exports may drop 7% this year - shippers association

BANGKOK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Thailand’s exports may drop by 7% this year, an improvement on the 8-10% drop projected earlier and helped by a gradual recovery in global demand, but a strong baht remains a concern, the Thai shipping association said on Tuesday.

“After a positive surprise in September’s shipments, we expect exports to improve further this year,” Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, chairwoman of the Thai National Shippers’ Council, told a briefing.

Exports, a key driver of Thai growth, contracted a less than expected 3.86% in September from a year earlier.

The U.S. presidential election and second coronavirus waves globally should not have a big impact on exports in the fourth quarter as orders had been made in advance, she said.

However, the current baht level at 31 per U.S. dollar is still far stronger than the 34 baht needed to support exports, the group said.

The council will meet with central bank governor, Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, on Nov. 24 to discuss the baht and the economy, Ghanyapad said. (Reporting by Kitphong Thaichareon Writing by Satawasin Staporncharnchai Editing by Ed Davies)