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Economics

IMF and SCB lower Thai growth forecast under 3%

IMF and SCB have joined other banks and organisations to predict Thai economic growth under 3% for 2019.

Olivier Languepin

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Siam Commercial Bank’s (SCB) Economics Intelligence Center (EIC) has adjusted its Thailand 2019 economic growth projection from 3 percent down to 2.8 percent.

The center has reported that domestic consumption is showing signs of a slowdown, especially in the private sector, as seen from lower sales of housing and motor vehicles, while financial institutions have become more stringent when offering loans, due to higher household debt.

Siam Commercial Bank’s (SCB) Economics Intelligence Center (EIC) estimates the export sector this year will shrink by 2.5 percent, while the tourism sector will generate less income due to lower spending by tourists because of the higher value of the Thai Baht, despite tourist numbers reaching the 40.1 million persons goal.

 The overall Thai economy however remains robust following the government’s investments in large projects and the Eastern Economic Corridor.

IMF sees Thai growth rate at 2.9% in 2019

Thailand’s economic growth rate could slow to 2.9% this year and be 3.0% in 2020 according to IMF’s latest report.

Risks to the growth outlook are tilted to the downside stemming from the impact of the global economic slowdown, current trade tensions and weak domestic demand, the IMF said.

Since December 2018, the baht has appreciated by about 5.5 percent against the U.S. dollar, making it one of the best performers in the region.

The level of reserves increased by nearly US$11 billion by end-June 2019 to US$250.3 billion, well above Fund adequacy metrics. Since May 2019, capital inflows have further accelerated, contributing to a sharper appreciation of the baht.

IMF Thailand report

Many Directors considered that Thailand’s external position remains substantially stronger than warranted by medium-term fundamentals and desirable policies.

A number of other Directors called for a more cautious interpretation of the external balance assessment citing Thailand’s pecific issues as contributing factors.

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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