During a press conference on the economic and financial situation for March and the first yearly quarter of 2012, BoT Director for Domestic Economy Methee Supapong pointed out a continuous improvement in the Thai economy in March. He said that industrial production has recovered significantly and is almost back to its pre-flood conditions, sending industrial product export up from that of the previous month. Meanwhile, consumption and private investment also expanded continuously. Mr. Methee added that external debt has risen due to the acquisition of loans for the adjustment of the country’s foreign currency position while inflation rate has been stimulated by the soaring energy price.
The industrial sector is seeing a recovery in its production for the fourth consecutive month, given most factories have resumed their pre-flood production capacities, especially those who depend mainly on domestic distribution. Additionally, some manufacturers have sped up their production processes to compensate for the shortfalls incurred by those who have not yet recovered. For instance, production in the automotive industry has risen from 62.5% in February to 68.1%. However, the industrial production index has shrunk 3.2% from that of last year, given the limited production capacity in some businesses.
Mr. Methee said that the overall export situation is down by 6.8%. However, the constant recovery in the industrial sector has led to an improvement in industrial goods export, especially in the electronics and automobile groups. On the other hand, agro-products export has shrunk due to the high rubber price and the lower export quantity of rice.
Regarding the tourism industry, Thailand has welcomed 1.9 million tourists, a 12.2% increase from last year's figure, especially tourists from China, Japan and Laos. The increased number of tourists has raised hotel occupancy rates up from the previous month and is also a reflection of tourists' confidence in the country despite the February blasts in Bangkok.