2013 Thai growth below 3%, consumer confidence lowest in 22 months

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BANGKOK, Dec 3 – The Finance Ministry today further lowered Thailand’s 2013 economic growth projection to less than 3 per cent.

Somchai Sajjapong, Fiscal Police Office director, said the month-long demonstrations have disrupted disbursement of capital spending in Q4 to only 28 per cent while tourism has been impacted after 34 countries warned their people against visiting Thailand.

The lengthy demonstrations will affect investors’ confidence in the mid- and long terms and credit rating agencies will possibly lower Thailand’s credit given the political turmoil, he said.

He said the state’s planned investment of Bt2 trillion (about US$65 billion) for infrastructure development will be affected and next year’s economy could expand less than 5 per cent in light of hiccups in public and private investments.

Rangsan Srivorasart, permanent secretary for finance, said the monthly payroll for civil servants would not be affected but government workers found it inconvenient to carry out their routine tasks since the seizure of the Finance Ministry by anti-government protesters.

He said the connecting system for imports and exports, handled by the Finance Ministry, has been partially disrupted but officials will continue working.

The University of Thai Chamber of Commerce said Thailand’s consumer confidence index (CCI) in November plunged to its lowest from 76.6 in October to 75 in  November – continuously declining for eight consecutive months.

The CCI in November was also the lowest in 22 months since February last year, he added.

He said the political conflicts will have a negative impact on Thailand’s 2014 economy at only 0.1-0.2 per cent and the Thai economy will expand at projected at 4.5-5 per cent.

However, the economic growth will drop by 0.5 per cent if the Bt2 trillion infrastructure development projects were not begun, he said.