NESDB urges public spending to stimulate economy

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BANGKOK, March 26 – Thailand’s economic growth in the first quarter could be lower than last year’s final quarter due to limited domestic consumption and export risks, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).

In its report to the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday, the NESDB said budget disbursements must be speeded up to stimulate the economy while exports must also be accelerated.

It said industrial production has lessened by 7.4 per cent in line with declining manufacturing of automobiles and other products, but the agricultural production index has increased 3.2 per cent thanks to increases in productivity of rice, tapioca, sugarcane and corn.

Shrimp production has grown for the first time in 25 months, said the NESDB which reported an overall increase in farmers’ income.

Tourist arrivals in January, however, increased only 0.06 per cent and dropped 8.15 per cent in February due to the months-long political conflicts.

Though tourist arrivals at Suvarnabhumi and Don Meuang airports in Bangkok have dropped, provincial airports have enjoyed an increase, especially in Samui, Krabi, Chiang Mai and Phuket, said the NESDB.

Tourist arrivals continued dropping, falling by 8.45 per cent since March 1 given announcements by 49 countries, warning their nationals from travelling to Thailand.

Quoting a Commerce Ministry report, the NESDB said exports in January dropped 2 per cent mainly from six major goods – rice, rubber, shrimps, automobiles, construction materials and rubber products.

Excluding the six categories of goods, the country’s overall exports increased 4.4 per cent thanks to expansion in other industrial sectors which exported to Europe, the United States and Japan.