4% growth still possible next year, says minister

4% growth still possible next year, says minister

Arkhom counting on investment in an eastern economic zone and more exports

Tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

The economy should still be able to achieve growth of 4% next year, despite uncertainty over the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the finance minister said on Thursday.

The country's vital tourism sector, in particular, should be recovering after a reopening, and an improved global economy will also support the economy, Finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told a Money Expo.

His comments came after the government earlier reinstated its mandatory Covid-19 quarantine for foreign visitors and scrapped a quarantine waiver due to Omicron, having only reopened more broadly last month.

"It's too early to assess the impact of Omicron. We'll have to wait and see," Mr Arkhom told reporters later on Thursday, adding the government was still supporting economic activity.

The economy remains in the recovery phase, and growth of "4% is still possible" in 2022, also helped by investment in an eastern economic zone and increased exports, he said. For this year, he predicted 1% growth.

"It's not yet known whether the Omicron impact will be as severe as expected by the central bank," Mr Arkhom said.

On Wednesday, the central bank cut its 2022 economic growth forecast to 3.4% from 3.9%, citing Omicron as a key risk to the growth outlook.

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