July exports rise, but Covid curbs hit activity

July exports rise, but Covid curbs hit activity

Bank of Thailand’s senior director for economic and policy department, Chayawadee Chai-Anant (Photo: Bank of Thailand)
Bank of Thailand’s senior director for economic and policy department, Chayawadee Chai-Anant (Photo: Bank of Thailand)

The economy in July was increasingly impacted by the country's worst Covid-19 outbreak and tighter restrictions that extended into August, but fiscal policy and exports lent some support, the central bank said on Tuesday.

The nation’s containment measures were imposed in July and August in Bangkok and other areas which account for about 80% of gross domestic product. But some will be eased from Wednesday to help a flagging economy, as new infections drop.

In July, the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the Thai economy became more apparent with weaker consumption due to the curbs, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) said in a statement.

Economic activity in August faced the same pressures as well as supply disruption caused by factors such as a labour shortage and outbreaks at factories, senior director Chayawadee Chai-Anant told a briefing.

"While the relaxation of curbs from tomorrow allows activity to resume, in terms of people spending, we have to wait and see how much confidence will improve," she said.

The easing, however, was factored into the BoT's baseline GDP growth forecast of 0.7% this year, she said.

The BoT is due to offer its new economic forecasts on Sept 29 when it also reviews interest rates.

In July, private consumption fell 5.3% from the previous month and private investment dropped 3.8%, while tourism had yet to recover.

Government expenditure increased 18% in July from a year earlier while exports rose 21.7% year-on-year.

The country recorded a current account deficit of $0.7 billion in July after a deficit of $1.3 billion in June, the BoT said. 

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