Flood crisis likely to slash 2011 GDP to 1.5%: NESDB


BANGKOK, Nov 21 – Thailand’s flood crisis is likely to slash 2011 gross domestic product (GDP) to only 1.5 per cent, even further from the previous forecast of 3.5-4 per cent, according to the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).

NESDB Secretary-General Akom Termpittayapaisit said the ongoing flood, which began in October, is likely to continue until December, causing damage of Bt200-300 billion and affecting this year’s GDP by 2.3 per cent.

Thailand’s GDP in Q3 grew 3.5 per cent due to export growth and household spending, resulting in a 3.1-per cent growth in the first nine months.

The 2012 GDP was forecast at 4.5-5.5 per cent. Factors supporting such a percentage are the government’s spending and investment on restoring basic infrastructure after the flood crisis, its policy to recover the agricultural, industrial and services sectors, which would create employment and generate income to the economy.

As a result, NESDB projected next year’s inflation rate will stand at 3.5-4 per cent, with household consumption expanding 4.4 per cent, investment 10.3 per cent, while the economic drive for higher household incomes would include the daily minimum wage raise to Bt300/day, the salary adjustment of newly graduates at Bt15,000/month, and the rice mortgage scheme.

Mr Akom said the first quarter of next year would be driven by real estate sector as well as the government’s investment on flood embankment construction and repair along with other related projects, all as a result of post-flood rehabilitation.

The secretary-general, meanwhile, added most unaffected industrial estates in the central provinces of Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao, and Samut Sakhon that previously lacked materials and faced spare parts shortage would resume operations this week and were to import materials for their plants from overseas.

According to Mr Akom, most affected industrial parks in the central region should resume their operations in late January or February.