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Financial News: Thailand GDP Growth Exceeds Expectations

Thailand GDP Growth Exceeds Expectations

05/20/2024 - 08:28:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Thailand's economy grew more than expected in the first quarter, driven by household consumption and growth in tourist arrivals, official data revealed Monday.

Gross domestic product grew at a slower pace of 1.5 percent on a yearly basis, which was slower than the 1.7 percent expansion in the preceding quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Council reported. However, this was faster than economists' forecast of 0.8 percent.

Quarter-on-quarter, the economy expanded 1.1 percent, reversing a 0.4 percent fall in the fourth quarter.

Data showed that the robust growth of exports of services and private consumption along with the continual growth of private investment underpinned economic growth.

Driven by spending in service activities, private consumption expenditure grew 6.9 percent annually. Meanwhile, government consumption expenditure dropped 2.1 percent. Due to a sharp fall in public investment, total investment contracted 4.2 percent, worsening from a 0.4 percent decrease in the previous quarter.

Exports of goods and services gained only 2.5 percent. Shipment of goods slid 2.0 percent, while services exports surged 24.8 percent.

At the same time, growth in imports accelerated to 5.3 percent from 3.9 percent. Consequently, the trade balance recorded a surplus of $1.6 billion compared with a surplus of $3.5 billion in the previous quarter.

The government projected the economy to expand 2.0 to 3.0 percent this year on the back of higher momentum from government spending and public investment, the recovery of tourism sector, growth in private consumption and investment and the gradual expansion of goods exports.

Capital Economics economist Shivaan Tandon said looser fiscal policy and a continued recovery in services exports will support economic activity. The economist expects the economy to grow 3.0 percent this year.

With inflation set to remain low, the central bank is likely to start cutting rates from June, the economist added.

The government estimated headline inflation to be in the range of 0.1 - 1.1 percent and the current account is projected to record a surplus of 1.2 percent of GDP.

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