Top business group JSCCIB raises growth outlook as Covid curbs ease

Top business group JSCCIB raises growth outlook as Covid curbs ease

A masseuse sprays disinfectant on a reclining chair while her colleague massages a customer on the first reopening day at a foot massage shop in Bang Kapi district of Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
A masseuse sprays disinfectant on a reclining chair while her colleague massages a customer on the first reopening day at a foot massage shop in Bang Kapi district of Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Thailand's leading joint-business group, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB), on Wednesday raised its 2021 economic forecast to between a 0.5% fall and 1% growth.

The move came after a relaxation of containment measures and signs the country's biggest wave of coronavirus infections was easing.

The restrictions in Bangkok and other provinces will be eased from Wednesday, allowing more travel and activity to resume as Thailand tries to revive its flagging economy while dealing with the outbreak and ramping up vaccinations.

The JSCCIB's outlook upgrade was the first this year following August's downgraded estimate of between a 1.5% drop and 0% growth of 2021 gross domestic product. The easing of curbs should lower an economic loss to between 200 billion baht to 300 billion baht this month, down from 300 billion baht to 400 billion baht projected earlier, the group said.

"Last month we didn't get the picture and had no confidence in vaccine procurement which could lead to longer lockdown measures," JSCCIB chairman Payong Srivanich told a briefing.

"But today we believe in the government's (vaccine) figures... and that infection numbers have peaked."

Thailand on Wednesday reported 14,802 new infections, after reaching as high as 23,418 on Aug 13.

The group also raised its export outlook to a rise of 12-14% this year, up from 10-12% predicted earlier.

For 2022, the economy could grow 6% if the country can fully reopen to foreign visitors by December and its vaccination plans are on track, Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, told the briefing. 

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