GDP growth to rise over 4% this year

Thailand will enjoy over 4% gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year, mainly due to its strong growth in exports and tourism.

This was what the private and the public sectors voiced as they made adjustments on their estimated GDP growth for this year.

According to Dr Thanawat Polvichai, director of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting, this year could mark the first in more than six years that the economy achieves growth in GDP of more than 4%.

He forecast the economy to rise to 4.6% this year, attributing to recovery in the global economy as a result of the upward trend in US interest rates, plus growing Thai exports and tourism income.

Earlier he estimated the growth at 4.2%.

He forecast exports to grow by 6% this year while inflation will stand at 1.3% corresponding to the national policy rate which has been pegged at 1.5%.

He said the baht will be average out at 31 baht to the USD and tourist numbers to hit 38.6 million.

Dr Thanawat said his revised growth estimate also took into account stability in the country’s politics, as a general election has been promised under the government’s roadmap for to democracy.

Meanwhile the National Economic and Social Development Board said that 2017’s economy grew by 3.9% following a sustained rise in the GDP in the 4th quarter due primarily to a rise in consumption and private sector investment.

Agricultural sales which in 2016 were 2.5% in the red also grew by 6.2% which is a dramatic improvement. Exports similarly reached a 6 year peak growing by 9.7% allowing Thais to enjoy an average annual income of 228,371 baht/person.

For 2018, the economic think-tank projects that the GDP will grow by 4.1% or at least hover between 3.6 4.6%.

It readjusted its estimate to account for exchange rate fluctuations which is expected to result in an appreciation of the national currency to around 31.5 -32.5 baht to the USD.