NESDB: Thai Q1/2011 GDP expands 3.0%

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BANGKOK, 23 May 2011  – The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has reported that the Thai Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figure for the first quarter this year stands at 3.0% while the 2011 GDP is expected in the range of 3.5%-4.5%. 

According to NESDB Secretary-General Akom Termpittayapaisit, factors supporting the Thai economic growth are foreign demand leading to rising exports as well as confidence of domestic investors and consumers leading to expanding investment and consumption.

The agricultural sector grew by 6.7% thanks to a 12.2% rise in agricultural produce, especially rice, sugar cane, corn and para rubber and a 25.7% rise in crop prices. Farmers’ income for the first quarter this year rose by 41.0%, up from 19.0% in the previous quarter.

As for the tourism sector, the number of foreign tourists coming to Thailand in the first quarter this year was at 5.4 million people, up 15.0% year-on-year. Most of the increase was attributed to journeys of Asian tourists to Thailand such as Chinese, Koreans, Malaysians and Indians.

Domestic spending grew 3.4% following rising income among farmers and rising crop prices. The unemployment rate was 0.8% or 310,000 people. Consumer Confidence Index stood at 71.9, up from 71.3 in the previous quarter; however, people were spending less due to expensive product prices.

Private investment expanded 12.6%, up from 9.2% in the previous quarter owing to supports from continuous domestic and foreign demands. Meanwhile, confidence of business entrepreneurs in average stood at 53.1, up from 51.4 in the previous quarter.

As for the 2011 economic growth projection of 3.5-4.5%, supportive factors are the tourism sector, rising crop prices, confidence of consumers and investment; however, the global economic condition, Japanese economy, interest rate and rising oil prices must be monitored closely.