BANGKOK, Nov 19 – Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of this year grew 3 per cent, lower than the previous quarter, according to the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).
The Thai economy grew 0.4 per cent in Q1 and 4.4 per cent in Q2.
NESDB Secretary-General Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said despite a 3-per cent general export decrease due to the world economic slowdown in ASEAN, EU, and the US markets, Thailand could see export growth in other markets such as Hong Kong at 9.8 per cent, the Middle East at 4.8 per cent, and Australia at 23.7 per cent.
Domestic factors driving household consumption and supporting the 3-per cent GDP growth in Q3 include tax reimbursement under the government’s ‘first car’ scheme, expanded general investment in the private sector and foreign investment, and tourism expansion.
Mr Arkhom said the Thai economy in the last quarter was forecast to substantially increase compared to the same period last year which contracted 8.9 per cent due to severe flooding. This year’s economy is likely to grow 5.5 per cent.
Regarding the economy next year, NESDB estimates that it will expand 4.5-5.5 per cent as a result of growth in exports, household consumption, total investment, headline inflation, and a current account surplus at 1 per cent of GDP under low inflation rate.
Mr Arkhom added the public investment will be the main force driving the Thai economy next year from a Bt2.4 trillion spending budget, state enterprises investments at Bt557 billion, flood prevention budget at Bt350 billion, infrastructure budget at Bt2 trillion.
However, risk factors to economic growth include rising wage costs and the world economic slowdown.