Thailand’s economy recorded the weakest growth in five years in 2019 as its exports and public investments slowed.
Illustrative image (Source: Ashton Hawks)
The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) announced on February 17 that Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 from a year earlier. The figure was lower than a 2.1 percent growth forecast in a Reuters poll and the third quarter’s upwardly revised 2.6 percent growth.
In 2019, the Thai economy expanded 2.4 percent, the slowest rate since 2014. It was in line with analysts’ forecast, but was sharply down from upwardly revised 4.2 percent growth in the previous year.
The same day, the NESDC cut its forecasts for Thailand’s economic growth this year to 1.5-2.5 percent from 2.7-3.7 percent.
It also lowered its outlook for exports, the main growth driver, to a 1.4 percent rise from a 2.3 percent increase projected in November.
The first-quarter’s GDP may contract from the previous three months before recovering in the second quarter as tourism should recover, Wichayayuth Boonchit, the NESDC’s deputy secretary general, told a news conference.
If this scenario happens, Thailand will avoid falling into a technical recession.
This year, the NESDC predicted the number of foreign tourists to Thailand would fall to 37 million from last year’s record 39.8 million, due to the coronavirus outbreak./.