Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith speaks during an interview with Reuters in Bangkok, Thailand, Oct 19, 2022. (Reuters file photo)
Thailand's economy may not reach a forecast growth of 3.8% next year due to a global economic slowdown, but this year's outlook should still be achieved, the finance minister said on Tuesday.
Slowing exports will not affect this year's growth outlook of 3.4% as the crucial tourism sector picks up pace, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told reporters.
Exports, a key driver of Thai growth, unexpectedly dropped in October for the first time in 20 months and the commerce ministry predicted a further slowdown due to softer global demand.
Export shipments, however, were still up 9.1% in the first 10 months of 2022 from a year earlier, and Mr Arkhom said a weak baht had been helping.
The finance ministry expects exports to rise 8.1% this year and increase 2.5% next year.
The ministry sees 10.3 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2022 and 21.5 million in 2023
. In pre-pandemic 2019, Thailand received 40 million foreign tourists.
"Tourism is expected to continue growing despite signs of weakening exports," he said.
Mr Arkhom said Thailand's fiscal position remained strong enough to withstand future risks.
On Tuesday, the cabinet approved a budget of about 37 billion baht ($1.04 billion) to expand Don Mueang International Airport to accommodate 40 million passengers per year from 30 million currently.