Thai economy on road to recovery

The economic future looks brighter in Bangkok. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Thailand’s economy is showing signs of growth after months of relative decline following last May’s coup, according to a senior executive at Thailand’s stock exchange.

Thai GDP climbed 2.9 per cent from a year ago in the third quarter, on the back of domestic spending and exports.

The explosions near a famous Bangkok shrine in August also affected the economy.

Pakorn Peetathwatchai, finance officer at the Thai stock exchange, said he expected growth in the next quarter to be around 3 per cent.

“Next year, the government plans a lot … of new investments and that would be the major factor to drive the economy,” said Peetathwatchai.

Thailand’s Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong has announced plans for a US$2.79 billion “Thailand Future Fund” by the end of this year to support infrastructural development.

“The government spending plan is not limited to just long-term infrastructure investments but also investments into new sectors,” Peetathwatchai said.

“Now they can start to think of additional issues like how we can create short-term consumption, new investments in the private sector.”

He said tourism, constituting 10-12 per cent of GDP, the pick-up in the global economy and increased government spending were the three main factors driving the Thai economy.

Thailand is welcoming more tourists than ever before. This year, expectations are that visitor numbers will hit a record 30 million, an increase of 22 per cent from last year.

Chinese tourists are expected to total 8.1 million, rising by 75 per cent from 2014. In 2016, visitor numbers are expected grow by a further 32 million by the tourism authorities.

The sector will bring the country an estimated US$70 billion in 2015, up 23 per cent from last year.
The Bank of Thailand has forecast GDP growth of 2.7 per cent for 2015 and 3.7 per cent next year, according to Reuters.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand index is down 12.3 per cent year to date, with a significant dip in August because of the Erawan shrine bombings.

“This year’s IPO [initial public offering] pipeline is quite steady,” said Peetathwatchai, who added that he was confident of the total IPO market to be worth about US$7 billion this year.

In 2016, he expects the IPO pipeline to include a combination of energy, consumers and logistics industries.

The National Economic and Social Development Board, Thailand’s core body for development strategy, said growth in the third quarter was 2.9 per cent year-on-year and 1 per cent over the previous quarter.
This was better than the expected and the highest quarterly growth in three years, signalling an unexpected recovery.


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