Increased tourist numbers have allowed the Thai economy to recover to a greater extent. However, the private sector remains worried about elevated production costs and the electricity price. Most recently, concerns have surfaced about droughts occurring and impacting the amount of water available for agriculture and industry.
The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Banking (JSCCIB) Chairman Kriengkrai Thiennukul revealed the body is preparing a letter about a potential drought situation addressed to Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha. The letter will request the premier to order relevant agencies to produce an urgent-phase drought mitigation plan, as well as a 3-year plan and a long-term plan. This is due to industry leaders’ concerns about potential droughts that could result from the El Nino phenomenon, which could start in July this year. The phenomenon could reduce the amount of water in Thailand’s Eastern Region, thus impacting agriculture and industry.
Mr. Kriengkrai said if preparations are not made in time, a drought would further heighten production costs for businesses while prices of agricultural and food products will rise further.
The JSCCIB chairman also spoke of the overall picture of the economy this year, saying there is a tendency for a continual recovery because of the tourism sector’s performance. He said foreign tourist arrivals have the potential to reach 30 million persons, which would exceed previous projections. Meanwhile, exports are now expected to return to expansion in the latter half of the year despite a projected contraction in the first half. The JSCCIB is maintaining its 2023 GDP growth projection at the 3-3.5% range while expecting the growth of the export value to come in at minus one to zero percent and inflation to be in the range of 2.7-3.2% in 2023. (NNT)