Economy improves in February as restrictions ease

Economy improves in February as restrictions ease

The economy improved in February after a moderate slowdown the previous month, owing to an easing of coronavirus curbs and a resumption of a quarantine waiver for foreign tourists, the central bank said on Monday.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis is likely to push up inflation and cause global financial volatility but Thailand's external stability remains good, Chayawadee Chai-Anant, a senior Bank of Thailand (BoT) director, told a news conference.

The impact of a recent spike in Covid-19 cases has been within estimates, while the momentum of a stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter could help the economy grow more than the 3.4% earlier forecast for this year, she said.

The BoT will update its forecast at its policy meeting next month.

Southeast Asia's second-largest economy expanded 1.6% last year, returning to growth in the final quarter of the year, after a 6.2% contraction in 2020.

The country resumed a quarantine waiver this month after a brief suspension imposed amid uncertainty about the severity of the Omicron variant, which slowed economic activity in January.

In January, private consumption dropped 0.4% from the previous month and private investment fell 0.7%, the BoT said in a statement https://www.bot.or.th/English/MonetaryPolicy/EconomicConditions/PressRelease/DocPressRelease/PressEng_January2022_9c7dl.pdf.

Exports, a key driver of growth, rose a much slower pace of 7.9% in January from a year earlier, with imports up 18.4% year-on-year, giving a trade surplus of $0.6 billion.

Thailand recorded a current account deficit of $2.2 billion in January after a deficit of $1.4 billion in December.

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