The economy expanded at its fastest quarterly pace in four years in the first quarter, boosted by recovering exports, said NESDB in its latest report.

Releasing a report on the quarterly growth, Porametee Vimolsiri, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said the agency was now confident the economy would expand by at least 3.5 per cent this year, up from 3.2 per cent last year.

The Thai government raised its export outlook for 2017, suggesting the recovery was gaining traction but the economy still faces rising global trade protectionism and capital outflow risks and the monetary policy will likely remain loose to cushion still-subdued investment activity.

Exports jumped 6.6%

Exports in the first quarter jumped 6.6% from a year earlier and household spending increased 3.2% while overall public and private investment rose 1.7%, NESDB data showed.

Gross domestic product grew a seasonally adjusted 1.3% in the first quarter from the fourth, aided also by household holding and tourism, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said.

Agricultural production sector grew by 7.7%

The agricultural sector has now expanded for three consecutive quarters, this time by 7.7 per cent, but manufacturing grew just 1.2 per cent, decelerating from a 2.2-per-cent pace in the fourth quarter of 2016, the NESDB said.

Gross Domestic Product in 2017Q1 rose by 3.3%, accelerating from a 3.0% growth in 2016Q4.

On the production side, the agricultural production sector grew robustly by 7.7%, accelerating from 3.0% in 2016Q4 as a result of a strong increase in major crop production particularly paddy, maize, and oil palm. In addition, price of agricultural products also increased.

Read the full NESDB report here