October 18, 2018 / 5:16 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Thai commerce ministry says exports expected to grow 8 pct in 2019

(Adds comment from commerce minister, background)

BANGKOK, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Thailand’s exports are expected to grow 8 percent next year, the commerce ministry said on Thursday.

“This year we plan to maintain the 8 percent (growth) target set by the ministry. Next year we forecast we’ll maintain the 8 percent target,” Thai Commerce Minister Sonthirat Sonthijirawong told reporters in Bangkok.

Last month the Thai National Shippers’ Council said exports this year are expected to grow 9 percent this year, better than the 8 percent predicted, as global demand remains strong.

Some exporters have expressed concern over the strong baht currency’s impact on exports.

Sonthirat said the ministry would like the local currency to be weaker so as not to adversely hit exports.

Exports, a key driver of Thai growth, jumped 9.9 percent last year after a modest 0.5 percent gain in 2016 following three years of contraction. (Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Amrutha Gayathri)

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