BANGKOK - Thailand's commerce ministry maintains its export growth target of 1% to 2% this year, a senior ministry official said on Thursday, amid slowing global demand.

The ministry is working closely with the private sector to achieve the goal, Permanent Secretary Keerati Rushchano told a press conference.

While exports should have bottomed out, there were still uncertainties over the U.S. economy and China's recovery as well as currency volatility, said Chaichan Chareonsuk, chairman of the Thai National Shippers' Council.

In the January-March period, exports, a key driver of Thai growth, declined 4.5% from a year earlier. The commerce ministry said earlier that shipments might not rebound until the second half of 2023.

The ministry is expected to report its April trade data by next week.

A Reuters poll predicted exports would drop 1.9% in April from a year earlier, with imports down 4.6% year-on-year and a trade deficit of $480 million for the month.

(Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)