Setback for Thai economic growth over last 5 years

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BANGKOK, Sept 1 – Thailand’s economic growth under the 10th National Economic and Social Development Plan (2006-2011) would not reach the projected five per cent growth rate, according to a senior economic official.

Porametee Vimolsiri, deputy secretary general of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), said Friday that Thailand would see economic growth of only 2.6 per cent which is lower than the 5.7 percent growth enjoyed under the 9th Plan, mainly due to the global economic crisis, stronger Thai and US currencies, internal political conflicts and unrest, natural disasters and the 2011 massive floods.

“The country’s performance in the first few years under the 10th Plan was satisfactory, but the massive floods in the final year had turned around everything, despite an improvement in decreasing logistics cost,” he said.

Thailand will have to rely less on the global economy and concentrate more on local economic stimulations, he added.

According to a preliminary report on the 10th Plan, Thailand’s economy had slowed down in the first three year of the plan, especially in 2009 when economic growth slipped to a low of 2.3 per cent before surging up to 7.8 percent in 2010, only to be battered by the historic floods in late 2011. The massive floods severely affected the industrial sector, resulting in economic growth of only 0.1 percent.

He reported that employment in the agriculture sector has reduced from 40.2 per cent to 39 per cent, while the service sector has suffered similar setback with a decline from 44.2 per cent to 41.4 per cent.

Employment in the industrial sector has, however, increased from 15.6 per cent to 19.5 per cent, indicating an increasing importance of the industrial and service sectors.

Savings among Thai people have improved, with the gap between highest-income and lowest-income groups reducing from 13 folds to 11 folds, while public debts vis-?-vis GDP showed an increase from 36.9 per cent to 42.2 per cent. The budget deficit increased from Bt150 billion to Bt400 billion in 2011.