September current account surplus $3.4bn

September current account surplus $3.4bn

Export upturn and healthy tourism improve overall outlook, says central bank

A vendor sells produce at a fresh market in Bangkok. Ample supplies pushed down prices of fresh fruit and vegetables in September. (Photo: Ministry of Commerce)
A vendor sells produce at a fresh market in Bangkok. Ample supplies pushed down prices of fresh fruit and vegetables in September. (Photo: Ministry of Commerce)

The country recorded a current account surplus of $3.4 billion in September, after a surplus of $400 million the previous month, the Bank of Thailand said on Tuesday.

Exports, a key driver of growth, rose 1% year-on-year in September, the central bank said in its monthly economic update.

The economy continued to recover in September as activity in the tourism sector increased in line with higher foreign tourist arrival numbers, it said.

Economic activity in October was expected to increase along with domestic demand and tourism, the report added.

Headline inflation in September declined in all major categories, the BoT said. Prices for fresh vegetables, fruit and meat fell as supply increased. Energy inflation also declined thanks to government subsidies, which reduced electricity and diesel prices.

In the third quarter, Southeast Asia's second-largest economy continued to expand from the previous quarter on the back of private consumption and recovery in the service sector, according to the BoT.

The economy expanded just 1.8% year-on-year in the April-June quarter from a year earlier, much slower than in the previous quarter, as weak exports and investment undercut strength in tourism.

The Ministry of Finance recently cut its full-year economic growth forecast to 2.7% from 3.5% earlier, due to weaker exports and lower government consumption. But it foresees higher growth of 3.2% in 2004, adding the projection has yet to price in the effect of the government’s planned digital wallet handout scheme.

The National Economic and Social Development Council will release official third-quarter economic growth figures on Nov 20.

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