The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) announced Thailand’s 1Q2017 GDP growth figure to be 3.3%YOY (as compared to the same quarter last year) or a 1.3%QOQ increase from last quarter after seasonal adjustment.
The export sector and the tourism sector supported the Thai economy
Exports of goods expanded by 2.6%YOY, the highest growth over the past 4 years, due to the rebound in many goods categories and a steady growth in almost every export market except the passenger vehicle export market to the Middle East.
Moreover, the recovery of the export sector was contributed by both price and quantity factors.
The growth of the global crude oil prices of more than 57%YOY in the first quarter caused steep increases in the prices of oil-related products such as rubber and rubber products, refined fuel, and chemical and plastic products.
In addition, the improvement of the global manufacturing sector has induced greater demand for key Thai industrial goods such as electronics and electrical appliances.
Exports in the service sector also showed signs of recovery from the government’s crackdown on illegal tours, expanding at 3.2%YOY accelerating from the previous quarter growth of 0.4%YOY.
The number of tourists in the first quarter grew 12%QOQSA while the number of Chinese tourists grew 32%QOQSA, reflecting a rebound from a short-term setback.
The growth of private consumption continued although not evenly distributed
Private consumption rose 3.2%YOY, led by a shift to a high growth of durable goods consumption after a contraction in the previous quarter. Passenger vehicle sales grew 13.9% YOY thanks to the launches of many new models including ones that were delayed from the end of last year during the grieving period and owing to new sales promotions in the beginning of this year.
However, the improvement in private consumption was concentrated in durable goods, because the purchasing power increased only in some groups of households. The consumption of nondurable goods and semi-durable goods remained relatively stable since the overall household income has not bounced back in full force, considering a 0.6%YOY drop in employment and a 0.7%YOY decrease in wage in the first quarter.
Private investment remained stagnant
Public investment grew steadily at 9.7%YOY following the investment in infrastructure projects both ongoing and starting this year.
However, private investment stayed contracted at 1.1%YOY, resulted from the sluggish investment in manufacturing sector due to excess production capacity.
Industrial factory construction shrank by 11.6%YOY. Equipment and machinery purchases dipped by 0.3%YOY. Other construction contracted, coming off a high base last year during the government scheme to increase investment in the sub-district level.
EIC expects a continuous expansion for the Thai economy, forecasting a 3.3%YOY growth for 2017.
The key drivers are:
- 1) the government’s economic stimulus, especially from a 190-billion-baht mid-year budget in 2017 to be distributed to the economy through investment in small projects in provincial areas, expected to be disbursed in the later half of the year. The government also plans to register more low-income Thais eligible for the government welfare, that will start to be disbursed this October;
- 2) higher household purchasing power after some households lift off debt burden from the first car scheme. The effect should be seen more clearly in the later half of the year. Income of the agricultural households should also be held up by higher prices of agricultural products than last year. While, employment is likely to improve with the government stimulus in the later half of the year; and
- 3) income in the tourism sector that will continue to grow this year thanks to a likely hike in the number of tourists in the last quarter from a low base last year.
- However, exports of goods could slow down for the rest of the year. The hike of oil prices that is projected to decelerate will prevent the exports of…
Author: Pimnipa booasang and Yuwanee ouinong
Thai fruit exports to FTA markets up 107 percent
China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia and Chile are top importers of Thai fruits, especially fresh durian, mangosteen, longan and mango. Thai exporters are able to benefit from FTA privileges.
BANGKOK (NNT) – Thailand’s fruit exports continue to increase, despite the sluggish global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with key trade partners being countries that have free trade agreements (FTAs) with the kingdom.
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50:50 campaign may not get immediate extension
BANGKOK (NNT) – The government’s 50:50 co-pay campaign expiring on 31st March may not be getting an immediate campaign extension. The Minister of Finance says campaign evaluation is needed to improve future campaigns.
The Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith today announced the government may not be able to reach a conclusion on the extension of the 50:50 co-pay campaign in time for the current 31st March campaign end date, as evaluations are needed to better improve the campaign.
Originally introduced last year, the 50:50 campaign is a financial aid campaign for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the government subsidizes up to half the price of purchases at participating stores, with a daily cap on the subsidy amount of 150 baht, and a 3,500 baht per person subsidy limit over the entire campaign.
The campaign has already been extended once, with the current end date set for 31st March.
The Finance Minister said that payout campaigns for the general public are still valid in this period, allowing time for the 50:50 campaign to be assessed, and to address reports of fraud at some participating stores.
The Fiscal Police Office Director General and the Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Kulaya Tantitemit, said today that a bigger quota could be offered in Phase 3 of the 50:50 campaign beyond the 15 million people enrolled in the first two phases, while existing participants will need to confirm their identity if they want to participate in Phase 3, without the need to fill out the registration form.
Mrs Kulaya said the campaign will still be funded by emergency loan credit allocated for pandemic compensation, which still has about 200 billion baht available as of today.
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