FPO expects 6% GDP growth in first quarter of 2013

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BANGKOK, 30 April 2013  The Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) is expecting to see 6 percent growth in Thailand’s gross domestic product or GDP in the first quarter of 2013, while expressing concerns over the effect of the strong baht on the export segment.

Director of the FPO Dr. Somchai Sujjapongse expects the first-quarter GDP growth to be at 6 percent and the GDP growth for the whole year to be at 5.3 percent as targeted. However, he said there are many factors that could impede the growth, citing that the world economic condition and the appreciation of the Thai currency are among those factors.

Dr. Somchai affirmed that the FPO will closely monitor the baht situation as it is now affecting the Thai export sector, allowing it to grow by only 4.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. The director pointed out that an export growth of at least 10 percent will need to be achieved in each quarter for the rest of 2013 otherwise the growth target for the whole year of 9 percent will not be met.

Meanwhile, he further revealed that the industrial production index also dropped 2.8 percent from last year’s fourth quarter, while the agricultural production index decreased 4 percent, thanks to the decline in prices of rubber and sugar.

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