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Thai bank forecasts 7.3% GDP contraction in 2020

Thailand’s economy could contract as much as 7,3% in 2020 according to Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence Centre (EIC) latest projection.

Olivier Languepin

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Tourist arrivals are expected to shrink by 75 per cent or drop to 9.8 million this year from close to 40 million last year

Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence Centre (EIC) has further revised downward its economic projection for this year to an economic contraction of 7.3 per cent.

Lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus across the globe have led the Economic Intelligence Center of Siam Commercial Bank (EIC SCB) to predict Thailand’s economic expansion to be a negative 7.3 percent.

Tourist arrivals are expected to shrink by 75 per cent or drop to 9.8 million this year from close to 40 million last year, while the value of exports in dollar terms is forecast to contract by 10.4 per cent year on year. 

The worst contraction is expected to be seen this quarter at 12.1%, before narrowing to 9.2% in the third quarter and 6.7% in the fourth.

Economic growth shrank 1.8% year-on-year in the first quarter, the deepest contraction since the flood-hit fourth quarter of 2011.

The baht is expected to weaken and fluctuate between Bt31.5 and Bt32 per dollar. The current account will return to surplus at 2.4 per cent of GDP after it hit a deficit in April, EIC said.

The MPC’s minutes from a meeting on May 20, when it cut the policy rate to a record low of 0.50%, stated that the country’s economy would contract by more than expected this year.

Thailand’s parliament approved a 1.9 trillion baht (US$59.7 billion) stimulus package, the kingdom’s biggest-ever cash injection, as Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy is expected to contract by 6 to 7 per cent in 2020.

A local trade association estimates that 6.5 million people will be permanently out of a job by the end of 2020.

So far, more than 20 million have registered for a government handout of 5,000 baht (US$150), while many others say they have been left out of the scheme. 

Bangkok Correspondent for Siam News Network. Editor at Thailand Business News

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