NESDC: Growth is slow, there is no recession yet

NESDC: Growth is slow, there is no recession yet

Thosaporn Sirisamphand, secretary-general of the NESDC.
Thosaporn Sirisamphand, secretary-general of the NESDC.

The government think tank National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) insists the economy experiencing slow growth, not a recession.

Thosaporn Sirisamphand, secretary-general of the NESDC, told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday the economy is still growing, but at a slow pace.

Economic growth of 3% is expected this year, boosted by the government’s recently unveiled stimulus package.

In 2018, the economy grew 5% in the first quarter, 4.7% in the second quarter, 3.2% in the third quarter and 3.6% in the fourth quarter.

The economy grew 2.8% and 2.3% in the first and second quarter, respectively.

“A recession means an economic contraction for a few months in a row,” he said. "The economy is not that bad. Growth has not lived up to expectations."

A recession is when the economy declines significantly for at least six months, accompanied by falls in five economic indicators: real GDP, income, employment, manufacturing and retail sales.

Mr Thosaporn said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha already ordered related agencies to explain the economic situation to the public to maintain the confidence of the public and investors.

Narumon Pinyosinwat, a government spokeswoman, said Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak also told the cabinet the economy is still growing.

She said the economy grew by 4% in 2017 and 4.1% in 2018, with the figures expected to grow in a range of 2.7-3.2% this year on the latest forecast by the NESDC.

The NESDC also reported in the third quarter that private consumption, government spending, government investment and the tourism industry, with the exception of private investment, is expected to trend upwards.

Economic growth in the third quarter is likely to be on par with the second quarter, with the growth prospects expected to become brighter in the fourth quarter following stimulus measures.

At Tuesday's cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Prayut ordered the relevant agencies to focus on state assistance, especially for low-income earners and the farm sector, as the prices of some crops remain relatively low.

The cabinet also instructed the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to look into caring for production costs in the farm sector, while the Budget Bureau was instructed to accelerate budget disbursement.

Mrs Narumon said the cabinet approved a draft fiscal 2020 budget worth 3.2 trillion baht.

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