Thai growth forecasts may need to be revised down – central bank chief


By Reuters and published by CNA

THAILAND’S economy continues to recover, helped by tourism and consumption, though the growth forecast may need to be revised down with exports weak this year, the central bank chief said today (Aug. 9).

Inflation was falling faster than expected and interest rate decisions would focus on the economic outlook, not short term data, Bank of Thailand (BOT) Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput told a central bank seminar.

Thailand’s economy, Southeast Asia’s second-largest, expanded 2.6 percent in 2022. In May, the BOT maintained its forecast for economic growth at 3.6 percent this year, and 3.8 percent for 2024.

“Due to a slowdown, this number will probably need to be adjusted down to the mid-3 percent range this year,” Sethaput said.

The economy expanded by a more-than-expected 2.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier as the vital tourism sector gathered strength.

On July 26, the finance ministry trimmed its 2023 economic growth forecast to 3.5 percent from 3.6 percent, lowering its projections for exports and foreign tourist spending.

“Exports have been soft due to global issues,” Sethaput said, adding private consumption and tourism would support continued recovery and that the country expects 29 million foreign arrivals this year.

Pre-pandemic 2019 saw a record of nearly 40 million foreign tourists who spent 1.91 trillion baht ($54.57 billion).

Thailand received 15.32 million foreign tourist arrivals from January to July.

The central bank last week raised key interest rate for the seventh straight meeting to 2.25 percent.

Sethaput today said the next monetary policy review may hold or raise rates.


Top: Bank of Thailand logo seen on April 26, 2016. File photo: Reuters/Jorge Silva and published by CNA

Front Page: Bangkok of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput speaks during his first briefing on economy and monetary policy after taking office on October 20,2020. File photo: Reuters/Chalinee Thirasupa and published by CNA

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