Exports, tourism help fire up expansion in April
The growth of exports, tourism and the agricultural sector supported the country's economic expansion in April, according to the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO).
FPO adviser Wuttipong Jittungsakul said that the office will continue to keep a close eye on the Russia-Ukraine war, which has driven up the global oil price and affects production costs and living costs in Thailand.
The country's export value in US dollar terms in April rose 9.9% year-on-year. Products that performed well included finished oil products, chemical products, vehicle tyres, steel, farm produce and food products.
The export of sugar, casava products, rice and animal feed expanded 87.9% year-on-year, 49.5% year-on-year, 44% year-on-year and 24.7% year-on-year, respectively.
Other products that recorded growth were durable goods and electronic products.
The indicators of supply in April showed signs of improvement from last year, reflected in the expansion of the farm product index by 2.7% year-on-year, due to an expansion of key farm produce such as paddy rice, rubber, eggs and fishery products.
The number of foreign tourist arrivals in April shot up by more than 3,000% year-on-year to 293,350. Most of them were from UK, India, Germany, Singapore and Australia. The number of local travellers soared 138.9% to 16.7 million.
Mr Wuttipong added that domestic spending also improved, reflecting the higher growth of value-added tax (VAT) collection of 1.6% year-on-year.
Sales of passenger vehicles rose 20.6% year-on-year, while motorcycle sales dipped 7.6% year-on-year. The automotive sector is one of the key pillars of the country's economy.
The import of capital goods in April grew by 6.3% year-on-year, while sales of cement fell 7.4%. The collection of property tax transactions dropped 6.5% year on year.
Recently the FPO downgraded its 2022 economic growth forecast to an average of 3.5% from an average of 4.0% earlier, mainly because of the Russia-Ukraine war and its effect on domestic energy prices.
The FPO expects 2022 economic growth to be in a range of 3-4%, compared with a range of 3.5-4.5%, which it forecast in January.