Committee revises up GDP growth forecast

Committee revises up GDP growth forecast

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) has revised up its 2022 GDP growth forecast to at least 2.75%, up from 2.5%, but soaring inflation remains a wild card.

GDP growth is estimated in a range of 2.75-3.5%, a slight change from the 2.5-4% predicted earlier, said Payong Srivanich, chairman of the Thai Bankers' Association.

But whether the economy will continue to revive will be determined by inflation, which is expected to stand at 5-7%, up from 3.5-5.5%.

Exports are still the key economic engine, with expansion expected at 5-7%, up from 3-5%, according to the JSCCIB.

Tourism also seems to be on track to recovery, with domestic tourism recovering by 80%, driven by local tourists, in the first half.

"We believe the tourism industry will tend to grow further in the second half of this year, thanks to more foreign tourists, though inflation remains a major worry," said Mr Payong.

Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the surge in inflation, resulting from higher production costs, will eventually affect demand for goods and services.

The government needs to speed up its budget spending in order to stimulate the economy, he said.

Authorities can help restore the economy by speeding up implementation of development projects under the Public Private Partnership.

The government can also boost foreign tourist arrivals by increasing international flights to Thailand.

Kriengkrai Thiennukul, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said Thailand should brace for a global economic slowdown in the second half of this year, especially caused by possible sluggish economies in the US as well as European countries.

Mr Kriengkrai said that many countries are facing higher inflation and there is a chance they may be heading towards a recession in the next six months if global energy prices continue to soar, driven by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

China's zero-Covid policy is also still in place, causing a worry over the impact on global supply chains if Beijing enforces lockdown measures.

"Uncertainties in the international economy will be a challenge to Thai exports," said Mr Kriengkrai.

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