BANGKOK (NNT) – The Bank of Thailand (BOT) says Thailand’s economy is still seen growing at 3.6% this year, driven by tourism and domestic consumption, in spite of turbulence in the first half of the year and global financial uncertainty.

As the country’s economic recovery remains intact, there is little need for stimulus measures, and fiscal and monetary policies should be normalized for stability as inflation risks persist, according to BOT Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput.

IMF forecasts a 3.4% GDP growth for Thailand in 2023
IMF forecasts a 3.4% GDP growth for Thailand in 2023

He told reporters that the BOT’s projected growth this year is close to the country’s long-term growth potential of about 4%.

However, he said the BOT expects the economy to grow 2.9% from a year earlier in the first half, with exports seen down 7.1% year-on-year.

Sethaput added that growth is projected to accelerate to 4.3% year-on-year in the second half of the year, when exports should rebound 4.2%.

BOT expects 28 million foreign tourist arrivals this year

Recovery of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy has lagged some of its regional peers but a rebound in tourism is expected to give growth a boost.

The BOT expects 28 million foreign tourist arrivals this year, compared with nearly 40 million in pre-pandemic 2019.

Headline inflation, which cooled to 2.83% in March, is expected at 3.3% in the first half and 2.5% in the second half of 2023, he said.

While last month’s headline inflation returned to within the BOT’s target range of 1% to 3%, the BOT governor said inflation risks remained and needed monitoring.

The BOT last month raised its benchmark rate by a quarter point to 1.75% to curb price pressures. It will next review the rate on May 31, when economists expect a further rate hike.

Baht volatility higher than regional peers

Sethaput said baht volatility was higher than regional peers, driven by external factors, but its levels remained moderate compared with others.

He also said the BOT will support more use of the yuan for trade and plan to meet with China’s central bank next month.

Sethaput also said the BOT expected to issue rules on virtual banks in the third quarter of this year, delayed from the second quarter.

Information and Source

Reporter : Paul Rujopakarn

Rewriter : Tarin Angskul

National News Bureau :

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