Thai growth reviewed amid Ukraine war

Thai growth reviewed amid Ukraine war

Kriengkrai Thiennukul, vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industry
Kriengkrai Thiennukul, vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industry

Growing concerns over the escalating war between Russia and Ukraine is causing the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) to reassess Thailand's economic prospects in 2022.

The JSCCIB will have business leaders brainstorm to identify negative impacts caused by the conflict and subsequent sanctions on Russia, said Kriengkrai Thiennukul, vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), which is scheduled to chair a JSCCIB meeting on Wednesday.

Views and concerns from all key business sectors -- manufacturing, exports, tourism and finance -- will be taken into consideration, he said.

The JSCCIB predicted in January Thailand's GDP would grow by 3-4.5% this year, with exports expanding by 3-5% and the inflation rate standing at 1.2-2%.

In early February, it decided to maintain the GDP and export forecast, but changed the inflation outlook to 1.5-2.5% because of the global oil price surge, which increased transport and production costs.

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine had not happened at that time, but now this issue must be factored in," said Mr Kriengkrai.

The JSCCIB warned earlier that state-private efforts to rehabilitate the economy would be hindered by the spread of the Omicron variant and the Russia-Ukraine standoff.

New Covid-19 infections in Thailand, which could lead to stricter measures to contain the spread of the virus, fell for the third consecutive day to 20,420 cases, a roughly 20% drop from the 25,615 posted last Friday, the Public Health Ministry said yesterday.

But the situation in Ukraine remains highly volatile, with growing worries that the war between the two countries will escalate even further, causing real damage to the global economy.

Mr Kriengkrai said the JSCCIB will look into the short-term impact of higher energy prices, which will affect prices of raw materials, including steel and animal feed.

Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat, a key ingredient of animal feed.

The JSCCIB will also discuss the war's impact on the Thai export sector after the US and its allies decided to cut off some Russian banks from the SWIFT interbank payments system, as well as whether foreign tourist numbers will miss their target this year, he said.

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