May 2, 2019 / 7:11 AM / in 18 days

Thai shippers cut 2019 export growth forecast to 3 pct

BANGKOK, May 2 (Reuters) - Thailand’s exports are likely to rise 3 percent this year, down from an earlier forecast of 5 percent due to a global economic slowdown amid rising trade protectionism, a Thai shipping body said on Thursday.

Exports, a key driver of Thailand’s economy, contracted 1.6 percent in January-March from a year earlier, customs data showed.

While the U.S. and Chinese economies expanded more than expected in the first quarter, there remains a risk from the slowing global economy, Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, chairwoman of the Thai National Shippers’ Council, said in a statement.

The downgraded outlook is also based on an assumption that the baht will be 32.5-33.5 per U.S. dollar this year, she said.

The baht was at 31.99 against the dollar at 0652 GMT, after having hit a five-year high of 31.07 in February.

Last month, the central bank said exports could grow less than its downgraded forecast of 3 percent this year.

Last year, shipments rose 6.7 percent. (Reporting by Orathai Sriring Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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