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The Thai economy in the first quarter of 2011 expanded by 3 percent and it is likely to grow between 3.5 and 4.5 percent this year.The Cabinet, during its meeting on 31 May 2011, acknowledged a report on the Thai economy in the first quarter and outlook for 2011, prepared by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board.
According to the report, the supporting factors in the first quarter were the global economic recovery and strong domestic demand, which led to higher exports, expansion in the tourism sector, increased private investment, higher farm income, and low unemployment rate.
Thai exports expanded by 27.4 percent to 56 billion US dollars.
The key export drivers were jewelry, vehicles, parts and accessories, electrical appliances, and rubber. Major export markets included China, the United States, Japan, and the European Union.As for the agricultural sector, key contributors to this expansion were rice, sugar cane, maize, and rubber. Farm income during the period grew by 41 percent over that of the same period last year.
The number of inbound tourists stood at 5.4 million, a rise of 15 percent.
The improvement was due to an increase in the tourist arrivals from Asian countries, especially China, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and India. The employment situation remained positive, with the unemployment rate of only 0.8 percent. Household consumption increased by 3.4 percent because of higher farm income.
Private investment expanded by 12.6 percent, an upward growth from 9.2 percent against the figure registered in the same period of the previous year.As for the Thai economy for the whole year, the report said that it is expected to experience a slower growth in comparison to last year, which expanded by 7.8 percent.
Exports are projected to grow by 17 percent. Inflation is likely to stand at 3 to 3.8 percent, and current account surplus is expected to be equivalent to 3.1 percent of GDP.The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board suggested that Thailand’s economic management for 2011 should seek to maintain stability and increase income of the majority of the Thai people.
It urged the Government to increase productivity, especially on agricultural products and food processing, implement proactive marketing strategies in the agricultural sector, and improve labor productivity in the industrial and service sectors.Another suggestion is that the Government should enhance the competitiveness of the Thai economy, accelerate logistics projects, promote renewable energy, and improve search and development in science and technology.
The Government has also been urged to facilitate border and regional trade through the ASEAN Single Window and prepare Thai people to gain benefit from this regional cooperation.