BANGKOK, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Thailand’s exports may stagnate this year if the U.S.-Sino trade dispute continues and the baht keeps strengthening, a Thai shipping body said on Thursday.
The group will meet with the Bank of Thailand on March 4 to urge it to ensure that the baht does not become too strong and that the policy interest rate does not rise this year, Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, chairwoman of the Thai National Shippers’ Council, said at a press briefing.
While keeping its 2019 export growth estimate at 5 percent for now, the group is worried that exports may grow less than that, Ghanyapad said.
“The worst-case scenario is exports may not grow at all... if we want to have 5 percent growth, the baht should be at 33 (per U.S. dollar),” she said.
The baht traded at 31.24 to the dollar at 0633 GMT, having appreciated 4.2 percent against the greenback this year, making it Asia’s best-performing currency.
Exports, a key driver of Thailand’s economy, rose 6.7 percent last year.
Annual shipments in January may have declined for a third straight month, Ghanyapad said.
The central bank has forecast 2019 export growth at 3.8 percent. (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)