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Thai July exports fall 11.37% y/y, smaller drop than forecast

* July exports show signs of recovery - ministry

* U.S. shipments jump 17.8% y/y but China's falls 2.7%

* Ministry keeps export forecast at 8%-9% fall this year (Adds detail)

BANGKOK, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Thailand's exports in July dropped by a smaller-than-expected 11.37% from a year earlier, with the U.S. shipments jumping, while most markets remained under pressure from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the commerce ministry said on Monday.

The fall compared with a Reuters poll forecast for a decline of 17.8% in exports, and against June's 23.17% slide.

The ministry still expects exports to fall by 8%-9% this year, Pimchanok Vonkorpon, head of the ministry's Trade Policy and Strategy Office, told a briefing.

"Overall exports recovered with a check-mark shape. We are hoping there will not be more lockdowns in other countries which will disrupt trade," she said.

Shipments of cars and car parts declined 30.9% in July from a year earlier after June's 43.2% plunge. Gold exports rose 37% year-on-year after a 86% fall in the previous month.

Exports to most markets were lower in July, with ones to China down 2.7% year-on-year, but those to the United States jumped 17.8%, helped by electronics and rubber products, the ministry said.

While a rise in exports to the United States, accounting for 14.5% of the total in January-July, the largest share, could be scrutinised over trading practices, several shipments, including semi-conductors, were from U.S. companies in Thailand, Pimchanok said.

Last month, the central bank said Thailand had not intervened in the baht for any competitive trade advantage following a media report that Thailand could be added to a U.S. watch list for currency manipulation.

In January-July, exports, a key driver of Thai growth, contracted 7.72% from a year earlier, while imports fell 14.69%.

Thailand recorded a trade surplus of $3.34 billion in July and $14 billion in the first seven months of this year.