Central bank foresees growth below 3%

Central bank foresees growth below 3%

Q3 growth higher than Q2's pace

(Photo courtsey of Bangkok Port)
(Photo courtsey of Bangkok Port)

The economy is likely to grow less than 3% this year, due to intensifying global trade tensions, a senior central bank official said on Friday.

"The external situation is escalating and still uncertain... We will have to keep monitoring trade protectionism, which is likely to drag on," Don Nakornthab, a senior director of the Bank of Thailand, told reporters.

The central bank has said it will lower its 2019 economic growth forecast of 3.3%. It will next review its outlook and monetary policy on Sept 25. Last year's expansion was 4.1%.

Earlier this month, the state planning agency cut its 2019 growth estimate to a 2.7%-3.2% range from 3.3%-3.8%, after the country registered second-quarter growth of 2.3%, the weakest annual rate in nearly five years.

In the first half, annual growth was 2.6%.

However, growth in the third quarter is expected to be higher than the previous quarter's pace, due to improved exports and higher foreign tourist numbers, compared with comparatively lower figures last year, Mr Don said.

"Exports may have bottomed out," Don said. Shipments rose 3.8% in July from a year earlier, after falling for seven straight months.

The number of foreign tourists rose 4.7% in July on-year.

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