THE National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) cut its projection of Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2021 to 0.7-1.2%, from 1.5-2.5% previously estimated, as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 wave that began in April and led to a lockdown in 29 dark red provinces, Amarin TV said today (August 16).
However, Mr. Anucha Phichayanan, NESDC’s secretary-general, also pointed to a better outlook in the fourth quarter if the Public Health Ministry’s assumption that daily Covid cases will peak at the end of August and will start declining in September comes true.
This would lead to relaxation and opening up of economic zones in the final quarter with factors supporting this outlook being distribution of 85 million doses of vaccines by yearend and projected global economic growth of 6% this year.
On the other hand the risk factors are Covid mutating in Thailand with this compounded by high household debt and unemployment problems particularly in the tourism sector. Additionally uncertainty hangs over the export sector with all sides having to be careful about the impact of coronavirus on production.
NESDC also revealed that GDP in this year’s second quarter increased by 7.5% year-on-year and inched up 0.4% compared to the first quarter.
The year-on-year jump in the second quarter was due to private consumption increasing 4.6% and overall investment growing by 8.1%, driven by private investment which rose by 9.2% and public investment by 5.6%. Exports grew by 36.2%
Overall, the economy in the first half of this year grew around 2% from an unusually low base last year. Expansion occurred in some important sectors, namely the industrial, agricultural and export while tourism has not recovered.
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