The Ministry of Finance has said the Thai economy could grow 3.0%-3.5% this year, less than an earlier forecast. The ministry cited soaring oil prices driven by the Russia-Ukraine war as a contributor to its adjusted forecast, adding that the key interest rate should remain low to underpin recovery.
Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith noted, however, that the economy will be supported by strong exports, which could grow 5%-6% this year, and by improved tourism as the government plans to ease more pandemic-related curbs.
In February, the state planning agency predicted that the economy would grow 3.5%-4.5% this year, after expanding just 1.6% last year – among the lowest rates in the region.
Minister Arkhom said the economy is expected to grow in the first quarter both on the year and on the quarter.
He also expected 3 million foreign tourists this year, compared with 40 million in 2019, before the pandemic battered an industry that generally accounts for about 12% of gross domestic product.
The minister said monetary policy should continue to support the recovery that is not yet in full recovery, while the government tries to manage higher inflation, which is expected to be 3%-4% on average this year – slightly above the central bank’s 1%-3% target range. (NNT)