Thai central bank revises 2013 growth forecast to 4.9%


BANGKOK, Jan 18 – The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has revised its growth forecast for this year upward by 0.3 per cent to 4.9 per cent, giving credit to rising exports, private consumption and investment, said Paiboon Kittisrikangwan, BoT Assistant Governor.

The bank said in its monetary policy report that Thailand’s growth projection was revised upward for last year and this year is still driven mainly by private consumption and investment.

Last year’s growth forecast was revised up to 5.9 per cent from the earlier projected at 5.7 per cent.

This year’s growth forecast was revised up to 4.9 per cent from 4.6 per cent while next year’s GDP is forecast to grow 4.8 per cent.

Mr Paiboon said the global economic risks in the worse-case scenario have declined, given the lower probability of Greece’s exit from the euro area and the recent progresses on fiscal concerns in the US Exports still suffer from the global slowdown, but seem to have bottomed out and show incipient signs of recovery.

Exports this year are projected to grow nine per cent from 3.6 per cent last year and 9.7 per cent growth is forecast for next year.

State and private investment are positive factors for economic growth. Private and state investment is likely to expand 12.1 per cent and 17.1 per cent respectively. However, the government must invest within the timeframe to avoid any adverse effect on the latest growth forecast, he said.

This latest forecast, however, has yet included Bt2.2 trillion investment in basic infrastructure as it is still unclear and needs time for implementation.

A risk factor for the Thai economy which needs to be monitored is the fluctuation of fund flows, which may influence the currency exchange rate. The rapid appreciation of the Thai baht  may be short-lived but it benefits the imports of heavy machinery.

Other risk factors are acceleration of credit and household debt and results of the second round of minimum wage rises, which is initially assessed to not impact inflation, but small enterprises could go out of business.

The central bank maintains this year’s inflation forecast at 2.8 per cent for headline inflation and 1.7 for core inflation.