Thai economy grows 2.7% in first quarter
published : 15 May 2023 at 17:26
Thailand's economy grew 2.7% in the first quarter thanks to a steady tourism recovery and strong consumer confidence that offset sluggish exports, officials said Monday.
The reading came a day after the country went to the polls and declared little faith in the economic management of incumbent Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, rejecting almost a decade of military-backed rule.
Southeast Asia's second-largest economy has suffered a patchy pandemic recovery but the National Economic and Social Development Council expects the economy to grow between 2.7 and 3.7% this year.
The January-March expansion marked a pick-up from 1.4% in the previous quarter, the council said.
"Our domestic economy does not have any major problems. Consumption and the tourism sector continue growing," Council secretary Danucha Pichayanan told reporters.
Border restrictions during the pandemic battered the kingdom's key tourism industry, which previously accounted for around a fifth of national income.
So far this year, there have been 6.5 million international tourist arrivals, the council said.
Mr Danucha acknowledged that many Thai households were struggling with high energy costs.
Ahead of the election major parties were locked in a financial bidding war to secure votes from low-income households struggling for survival as the cost of living soared.
An incoming government must prioritise boosting exports and finding new potential markets by speeding up free trade negotiations, the council said.