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BANGKOK: Thailand’s economy continued to improve in December but the recovery remained patchy with a second wave of coronavirus infections also starting to impact some economic activity, the central bank said on Friday.

Exports, a key growth driver, and private investment improved, but the coronavirus outbreak that emerged late last month hurt domestic travel while the number of foreign visitors remained minimal due to restrictions, the Bank of Thailand said.

While the outbreak has been fast and widespread, its impact on economic activity has been less severe than the first wave last year as new restrictions were more limited, BOT director Pornpen Sodsrichai told a briefing.

Tourism-related sectors have been harder hit, but the manufacturing industry was still receiving orders, particularly from overseas, she said.

“The overall economy is recovering but gradually and it is uneven. It will take a while,” Pornpen said.

In December, exports, a key driver of growth, rose 4.6% from a year earlier, while imports dipped 0.1%, resulting in a trade surplus of $2.8 billion in the month.

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