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Thai economy posted strong growth in Q4 but falls short of estimates

The Thai economy grew by 4 per cent year-on-year (yoy) in the last quarter of 2017, while full-year growth was 3.9 per cent, up from 3.3 per cent in 2016

Olivier Languepin

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The Thai economy grew by 4 per cent year-on-year (yoy) in the last quarter of 2017, while full-year growth was 3.9 per cent, up from 3.3 per cent in 2016, said Porametee Vimolsiri, Secretary General of the National Economic and Social Development Board.

Thailand’s gross domestic product grew 4 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter,  below a Reuters poll of economists forecasting 4.4 per cent growth and slower than the 4.3 per cent growth in the previous period.

Annual economic growth last year stood at 3.9%, compared with 3.3% in 2016.

Investment in the private sector continued to grow for the third quarter in the last quarter of 2017. It grew by 2.4% year on year, compared with 2.5% growth in the third quarter last year.

Exports rose well for rice, natural rubber, tapioca, rubber products, telecommunication equipment, automotive parts, vehicles, machinery and petroleum products.

The government raised its 2018 export growth outlook to 6.8 percent from 5 percent. Thailand’s exports, worth about two-thirds of the economy, jumped nearly 10 percent in 2017.

Growth of Thai exports in 2018 may be slower than in 2017. This is in line with growth outlook of Asian exports (excluding Japan) in 2018 which is expected to expand by 5.1%, a slower rate than 7.1% of 2017, according to survey of Asia Pacific Consensus as of December 2017

According to a statement published by the Bank of Thailand last week

The Thai economy as a whole continued to gain further traction on account of continued improvements in exports of goods and services that were driven by stronger global economic growth.

Private consumption continued to expand, especially spending on durable goods, and would be underpinned by government measures. Nevertheless, improvement in overall household purchasing power remained gradual partly due to structural issues in the labor market together with elevated household debt.

Private investment picked up further with the improved economic outlook, and was projected to continue expanding with additional support from government projects. Meanwhile, public expenditure remained an important growth driver despite recent delays in disbursement for investment spending.

Nevertheless, Thailand’s growth outlook was still subject to risks that warranted close monitoring, namely uncertainties pertaining to US economic and foreign trade policies as well as geopolitical risks.

Economics

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.

National News Bureau of Thailand

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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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Economics

The Future of Asia: greener but with a public and private debt hangover

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a perfect storm, destroying jobs, worsening poverty and inequality, and creating a public and private debt problem—especially for countries and firms already in fragile financial health beforehand

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The Sydney Opera resumed live performances and the city of Melbourne recently hosted the Australian Open tennis tournament with fans (mostly) in attendance.

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Economics

50:50 campaign may not get immediate extension

National News Bureau of Thailand

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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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