The Thai economy was stable in September due to more steady private consumption and investment, and the stability trend is likely to continue for the rest of 2013, according to Bank of Thailand.
Shoppers ride on escalators in a shopping center in Bangkok. (Bloomberg Photo)
Mathee Supapongse, the central bank’s senior director on Macroeconomic and Monetary Policy Department, said on Thursday consumption in September contracted by 1.3% while private investment was stable in the month when compared to August.
He said the economic sentiment in the remaining months of 2013 was likely to improve slightly but will not show significant growth.
On the stability front, the BOT found that inflation eased in the month with 1.42% growth year-on-year, compared with 1.59% in August, due to a slowdown in prices in all major categories.
Unemployment was also low at 0.8% of the total workforce while it was 1% in August.
However, the country recorded US$543 million (16.3 trillion baht) in the current account deficit in September due to a negative balance in services, income and the transfers account. In August, Thailand had a current account surplus of US$1.285 billion.
He said the economy in the third quarter of 2013 showed some signs of recovery from the previous quarter as exports of some products gradually improved in line with global demand.
The tourism sector continued to grow robustly with 2.1 million foreign visitors arriving in September, an increase of 27.6% year-on-year, thanks to more tourists from China, Malaysia and Russia.
In the third quarter, Thailand recorded a lower current account deficit at $1.95 billion, down from $2.44 billion in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, Mr Mathee said the BOT had to monitor the volatility of global financial markets and the internal ongoing protests, whether they continue for a long time and whether the turnout will cause heavy traffic disruption on many roads, as the situation might affect confidence and the investment atmosphere.
Despite the stability observed by the central bank, Siam Commercial Bank’s economic intelligence centre has slashed its gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection for 2013 to 3.4%, from a previous forecast of 4%, the centre's chief economist Sutthapa Amornwiwat said on Thursday.
The revision was based on the facts that exports were up only 0.1% in the first nine months of the year, the slowdown in private consumption, particularly in the automobile sector, lower than planned government spending and the delays in the planned investment infrastructure overhaul and flood management projects, she said.