Thailand's growth was slower than economists estimated in the first quarter as exports cooled, boosting the case for the central bank to cut interest rates.
Gross domestic product increased 5.3% in the three months through March from a year earlier, after expanding a revised 19.1% in the previous quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said in Bangkok on Monday. The median of 13 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was 6%.
Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, who has led calls for lower rates, said May 10 the monetary authority must cut by more than a quarter of a percentage point or implement capital controls to slow inflows that last month drove the baht to a 16-year high. The Bank of Thailand reduced the benchmark in October and has held it since, citing risks to financial stability.
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