Thailand’s new vehicle market continued to spiral downwards in June with sales falling by 18.4% to 60,217 units from 73,799 units a year earlier, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

Cumulative six month sales were down by 16.3% to 369,004 units as the Thai economy struggled to bounce back from last year’s near recession despite record low interest rates.

Export growth remained sluggish while commodity prices and agricultural output continued to decline. Consumer spending also continued to be held back amid high household debt.

The FTI cut its full year sales forecast to 850,000 units for 2015 from an earlier prediction of 950,000 units - compared with almost 882,000 sales last year - as first half data continued to be negative. But it expects second half sales to improve with the recently launched new pickup models helping stimulate buying activity.

New excise taxes based on emissions and fuel efficiency, due to be introduced next year, may also encourage buyers to bring 2016 purchases forward.

Vehicle exports in the first half of the year increased 2.9% to 576,073 vehicles while production fell 1.8% to 935,251 units.