BOT: Thai economy improving in North, slowing in South

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BANGKOK, Aug 4 — The Bank of Thailand (BoT) reported that in the second quarter the economy in the North improved but that of the South remained the same.

Somsak Wongpanyathaworn, BOT Northern Region Office director, said the economy there was better than in the first quarter of this year because the political situation was relieved and government policies were clear.

In the second quarter, exports of important industrial products rose by nearly 13 per cent, most destined for Southeast Asian nations.

The export of consumer products to Myanmar soared during the period, and consumer spending also improved.

Rice growers had more purchasing power after receiving long overdue payment for their pledged rice. However, the volume of agricultural products dropped due to the declining production of rice and sugarcane due to drought and falling prices.

Tourism in the North picked up in late in the second quarter as the number of Chinese visitors grew by nearly three times.

Air passengers using Chiang Mai Airport rose by 25 per cent year-on-year, Mr Somsak said.

The economic outlook in the North is bright in the second half of this year due to the economic trends of China and neighboring countries, improving tourism, the expected prices of important economic plants and the roles and spending of the government.

Meanwhile, Pruitipong Srimachan, director of the BoT Southern Region Office, said the southern economy remained the same in the second quarter compared with the first.

Tourism and the prices of local farm products dropped, while natural rubber prices remained low.

The affected incomes of local farmers and declining exports in the South caused most operators to take careful consideration on their spending.

Unemployment increased while inflation grew due to the prices of ready-to-eat foods and energy.

Meanwhile, the political situation prompted many countries to intensify their travel advisories about Thailand’d South.

He said the number of tourists visiting the South decreased 5.3 per cent from the previous quarter, in part because of the insurgency related explosion in Hat Yai district of Songkhla province. The local hotel occupancy rate currently stands at 54.1 per cent.

However, Mr Pruitipong said that tourism in the southern provinces facing the Andaman Sea expanded due to the growing number of tourists from China, Russia and Australia.