Office sees potential for 1.3% GDP growth in 2021

Office sees potential for 1.3% GDP growth in 2021

Exports, domestic spending key factors

Foreign tourists undergo health checks upon arrival at Samui airport under the Samui Plus tourism scheme. Revenue from foreign tourists used to account for 12% of the country's GDP.
Foreign tourists undergo health checks upon arrival at Samui airport under the Samui Plus tourism scheme. Revenue from foreign tourists used to account for 12% of the country's GDP.

Thailand could achieve 1.3% economic growth this year, as forecast by the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO), said Pisit Puapan, director of the Bureau of Macroeconomic Policy.

Factors to watch in the final quarter this year include the performance of the export sector, domestic spending, and the results of the government's stimulus packages. If all these factors fail to perform well, the FPO might cut its economic growth forecast, Mr Pisit said.

If the projection is downgraded, it would be a minor change, he said.

The FPO is scheduled to announce its updated GDP growth projection on Oct 28. The office projected GDP growth of 4.5% in 2022.

Mr Pisit believes economic activities in the fourth quarter should improve as Thailand plans to reopen on Nov 1 to vaccinated foreigners. The Covid-19 infection rate has been on a downward trend since August, he said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday urged the public, businesses and the government to cooperate in preparing for the country's reopening to fully vaccinated tourists next month.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) decided on Thursday to allow fully vaccinated visitors from Britain, the US, Germany, Singapore and China to visit the kingdom, though they must present a negative RT-PCR test before arrival from Nov 1 to Dec 31. The CCSA also eased additional virus curbs, shortening nighttime curfew hours starting from last Saturday.

The FPO forecast international arrivals this year of 300,000. There have been 100,000 thus far. If arrivals are lower than expected, it will not affect the office's GDP growth forecast for this year, said Mr Pisit. Revenue from foreign tourists accounts for 12% of the country's GDP.

In April, the FPO forecast Thai GDP growth this year of 2.3% before downgrading it to 1.3% in July following a new wave of the pandemic.

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