FPO revises down growth to 1%
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FPO revises down growth to 1%

Agency attributes cut to pandemic's impact

The Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) has downgraded its forecast of Thai economic expansion this year to an average 1% from the previously predicted 1.3% mainly as a result of the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic in April, which severely impacted the country in the third quarter.

The state agency's director-general Pornchai Thiraveja said Thailand's economy this year is set to expand in the range of 0.5-1.5% and with a median rate of 1%.

The economic situation is expected to pick up next year at 4% growth as the pandemic situation is expected to improve and the country will reopen on Nov 1, Mr Pornchai added.

The FPO estimated an economic contraction of 3.5% in the third quarter this year, due to the resurgence of infections. It projected economic expansion of 3% in the fourth quarter this year after the country's reopening.

The number of international tourist arrivals this year is expected to reach 180,000, of which 80,000 has been achieved.

Around 100,000 foreign tourists are expected to visit Thailand after Nov 1, according to the FPO projection.

The state agency expects that the number of international tourist arrivals could reach 7 million next year, if China allows its citizens to travel abroad in the second half of next year.

The risk factors next year include another wave of the pandemic outbreak, the shortage of raw materials in the manufacturing sector, the high price of global crude oil, inflationary pressure and foreign exchange volatility.

The FPO predicted the expansion of private consumption at 0.8% this year and the growth of private investment at 4%.

Export value is expected to increase 16.3% this year.

Public consumption and public investment this year is expected to expand 3.8% and 8.1%, respectively.

The country is also expected to see a current account deficit of US$18.3 billion this year.

For next year, the FPO forecast that exports will expand 3.8% and private consumption will expand 4.2%.

Public consumption and public investment next year is expected to expand 1.1% and 5%, respectively. Inflation is projected at 1.4% next year.

The government set aside expenditure of 3.1 trillion baht for the 2022 fiscal year, while state agencies have a total investment budget of 307 billion baht in the same period.

Next year, the government will disburse the remaining loan of 350 billion baht out of the total loan of 500 billion baht under the second emergency loan decree.

Kasikorn Research Center (KResearch) on Wednesday said it had upgraded its 2021 economic growth projection for Thailand to an expansion of 0.2% from the previously forecast 0.5% contraction, and with the projection of next year's growth at 3.7%.

Possible risk factors next year include high oil prices and inflation.

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