JSCCIB trims growth forecast over impacts of Ukraine crisis

JSCCIB trims growth forecast over impacts of Ukraine crisis

Rescuers work at the site of a Russian strike during Russia's invasion of Zhytomyr in Ukraine on Tuesday. (Reuters photo)
Rescuers work at the site of a Russian strike during Russia's invasion of Zhytomyr in Ukraine on Tuesday. (Reuters photo)

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) said on Wednesday it had reduced its economic growth forecast for this year to 2.5%-4.5% from the 3.0%-4.5% seen previously due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The crisis will impact Thailand's inflation, exports and tourism, the group said in a statement. It also said the number of Russian tourists, which accounted for just under a fifth of arrivals to Thailand in January, will likely fall by about half for all of 2022.

Growing concerns over the escalating war between Russia and Ukraine is causing the JSCCIB to reassess Thailand's economic prospects in 2022.

The group raised its forecast for inflation to 2-3% this year from 1.5-2.5% earlier projected, but maintained its export outlook for a 3-5% increase.

Group chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said the economy may slow down as a result of the unrest in Europe, "but not that much, as exports are still growing well".

The number of Russian tourists, who accounted for just under a fifth of Thailand's arrivals in January, will likely halve this year from the 500,000 to 600,000 earlier forecast, he said.

However, the group still expects 5 million to 6 million international tourists this year, with increased visitors from Saudi Arabia, who are big spenders, said Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

Thailand and the Gulf State in January agreed to reestablish full diplomatic ties that were severed decades ago by Saudi Arabia a multi-million dollar jewellery theft. That will include direct flights between them.

The group is urging the government to further relax entry rules and prepare an additional loan of 1 trillion baht to help the economy, Mr Supant said.

Separately, the commerce ministry was sticking to its forecast of export growth of 3%-4% and inflation between 0.7% and 2.4% this year, despite the Russia-Ukraine conflict, its chief, Jurin Laksanawisit told a news conference. 

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