Arkhom predicts two-year GDP recovery

Arkhom predicts two-year GDP recovery

Gap of 9% to be recuperated

Mr Arkhom says the economy is expected to recover gradually. Arnun Chonmahatrakool
Mr Arkhom says the economy is expected to recover gradually. Arnun Chonmahatrakool

Thailand's economy will take at least two years to recoup the 9% of GDP lost to the pandemic crisis, says Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

The economy would have expanded by around 3% this year if the pandemic crisis did not erupt, said Mr Arkhom.

The pandemic crisis will make the economy contract by around 6% in 2020, therefore there is a 9% gap that needs to be recuperated, he said.

If Thailand's GDP growth could arrive at 4% in 2021 and 2022, this would propel the country's economic growth momentum to return to a normal ratio, said Mr Arkhom.

Compared with Vietnam's GDP growth of 2.6% year-on-year in the third quarter, Mr Arkhom said Vietnam's GDP is twice as small as Thailand's GDP, while 12% of Thailand's GDP relies on tourism revenue, much larger than the 4-5% of GDP the tourism industry makes up in Vietnam.

Thailand's GDP contracted by 6.4% year-on-year in the third quarter, with full-year economic contraction projected to arrive at 6%, says the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC).

The economy was previously anticipated to contract by 7.5% this year.

The main reason supporting a lower full-year economic contraction is the NESDC projecting the global economy will contract by 3.5%, an improvement from 4.6%, while global trade is expected to decline 11% instead of 12% projected previously.

After a seasonal adjustment, the economy expanded by 6.5% quarter-on-quarter from the second quarter. In the first nine months, the economy contracted by 6.7%.

The NESDC's projection does not take into account the impact from political conflicts nor a second wave of outbreaks.

Krisada Chinavicharana, finance permanent secretary, said a quarter-on-quarter GDP growth of 6.5% registered in the third quarter showed the economy had already bottomed out in the second quarter, where GDP contracted by 12.1% year-on-year.

The Thai economy is expected to recover gradually, with a possibility of vaccine use and the global economic recovery helping to drive forward the recovery impetus in 2021, said Mr Krisada.

Regarding the government's fiscal space to cushion against an economic crisis under the fiscal 2021 budget, there is 30% fiscal space left, accounting for around 980 billion baht worth of capital, which excludes the remaining sum of the 1-trillion-baht loan decree, said Mr Arkhom.

The fiscal 2022 budget, preparation for which will begin in December, is still designed to support economic growth through public investments in infrastructure and energy projects, he said, adding that some projects may rely more on the private sector's input.

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