Industrial GDP growth put at 2.5-3.5%

Industrial GDP growth put at 2.5-3.5%

Workers carry out tasks on the assembly line of a car factory in Prachin Buri province. The OIE expects the MPI to grow by 4-5% this year. (Photo: Pattanapong Hirunard)
Workers carry out tasks on the assembly line of a car factory in Prachin Buri province. The OIE expects the MPI to grow by 4-5% this year. (Photo: Pattanapong Hirunard)

GDP growth in the Thai industrial sector is estimated at 2.5-3.5% in 2022, a drop from 3-4% last year, due to a mix of factors, including the impact of the Omicron Covid-19 variant currently spreading across continents, says the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE).

Other factors are the prolonged semiconductor shortage, which will affect key industries, notably car manufacturing, scarcity of labour and the global economic situation which helped drive exports last year but needs to kept under watch this year.

Though the government is still pinning its hopes on the export sector, expected to significantly contribute to the economy, the Covid-19 impact, which can lead to stringent lockdown measures in many countries, will be a wild card.

"The government is concerned about the Omicron variant and is closely monitoring its outbreak," said Thongchai Chawalitpichaet, chief of the OIE.

Energy prices are also a worry as more expensive fuel will increase the operating costs of manufacturers.

All factors will eventually affect two key indicators -- the industrial GDP and the Manufacturing Production Index (MPI).

Residents get a booster shot of Moderna supported by the Pathum Thani Provincial Administrative Organisation at Zeer Rangsit shopping mall in Lam Luk Ka district.  Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

The OIE expects the MPI to grow by 4-5% this year.

Officials attributed more bustling economic activities to the reopening of the country since Nov 1 last year.

"Lockdown easing and government stimulus packages also play a major role in fuelling the MPI and driving the domestic economy," said Mr Thongchai.

Thailand also has the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to support the industrial GDP and MPI, said Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.

The EEC is aimed at turning parts of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao into a high-tech industrial hub, which covers 12 targeted S-curve industries, including new-generation cars and medical and wellness tourism.

"The government expects them to drive the economy in the post-pandemic period," said Mr Suriya.

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