The Bank of Thailand expects the economy to have a better growth rate in the third quarter than the second after expansion missed the central bank's target for the previous quarter.
In the third quarter, the Thai economy continued to expand from the previous quarter, driven by private consumption and a recovery in the service sector, improving in line with increasing numbers of domestic and foreign tourists, said Chayawadee Chai-anant, assistant governor for the corporate relations group at the central bank.
Merchandise exports excluding gold gained slightly in the third quarter this year thanks to automobile and petroleum shipments, which were consistent with activities in the manufacturing sector, she said.
Other categories that posted gains included jewellery, agricultural products, and agro-manufacturing products.
However, private investment decreased as a result of lower investment in machinery and equipment, after accelerating in the preceding period.
Public spending also contracted for both current and capital expenditures.
"We will wait for an official announcement of Thai GDP growth in the third quarter from the National Economic and Social Development Council [NESDC]. However, the central bank expects a better growth rate in the third quarter than in the previous quarter," Ms Chayawadee said.
In the second quarter of 2023 the Thai economy expanded by 1.8% year-on-year, after growth of 2.6% in the first quarter, according to the NESDC.
From January to September this year, foreign tourist arrivals tallied 20 million.
In September the number of arrivals, after a seasonal adjustment, increased from the previous month for most nationalities, especially South Korea and India, which had long public holidays.
Moreover, travellers from the Middle East and Europe also increased after a slowdown the previous month.
Chinese tourists benefited from a visa exemption scheme towards the end of the month, said the central bank.
Tourist expenditures also continued to increase, which was consistent with higher numbers of visitors and the occupancy rate, Ms Chayawadee said.
She said the central bank has no official data yet about the impact on tourism from the recent Siam Paragon shooting.
The incident is expected to derail tourist sentiment and confidence, but may be offset by the government's free visa measures and seasonal tourism factors, she said.