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National News Bureau of Thailand

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 The global spread of the COVID-19 disease is perceived by the private sector to be a significant setback for both the Thai and global economies.

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) has reduced this year’s national GDP projection from 2-2.5 percent to only 1.5-2 percent.

Acting as the JSCCIB chief, the Chairman of The Federation of Thai Industries Suphan Mongkolsuthree said today the committee has adjusted Thailand’s 2020 GDP projection down to 1.5 to 2 percent from the previous figure at 2 to 2.5 percent, while the export sector is expected to perform at a negative 2 to 0 percent; the inflation rate is expected to be 0.8 to 1.5 percent.

He said the epidemic of COVID-19 disease in many countries of the world, has had a widespread impact on the trading and manufacturing sectors, while urgent economic measures from the government are not likely to be able to compensate for the consequences of the epidemic.

COVID-19 fears have already affected the tourism industry and industrial supply chains, resulting in employee layoffs and even closures of some companies. The economy is expected to continue slowing down necause of other factors such as severe drought, affecting domestic purchasing power.

The JSCCIB is now closely monitoring the development of the COVID-19 epidemic, while commenting that certain Thai companies competing with Chinese companies may benefit from this situation, as such companies could continue to manufacture goods at full capacity, while Chinese companies cannot. Companies relying on China may however face difficulties.

The committee is optimistic that economic activity will start to recover in the final quarter of this year. It is asking the government to take urgent monetary and financial measures to help companies reduce costs and enhance their liquidity. The committee will be proposing its ideas to the government in the Economic Ministers meeting on Friday.

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