BEHIND THE NUMBERS
When the official figure for gross domestic product (GDP) was announced on Feb 18, many people probably shared our reaction: awestruck. The Thai economy in the fourth quarter of 2012 expanded dramatically by 18.9% year-on-year compared with a 3.1% increase in the previous quarter.
For what it's worth, the announcement may have forced the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee to hold its policy rate at 2.75% on Feb 20 in the face of government pressure to reduce it.
The 18.9% growth rate represented a really strong close to the year after the flood crisis of late 2011. In fact, the figure was the highest since the National Social and Economic Development Board (NESDB) started compiling quarterly GDP 20 years ago. In a Bloomberg survey of 14 economists, the mean estimate was 15%, with the highest forecast of 18.3%, the only one in excess of 18%.
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