Thailand economy grows at fastest pace in over four years

22 Août, 2017, 06:57 | Author: Marc Bacque
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A strong baht presents an additional headwind to Thailand's export-driven economy though the government said it sees no significant dent to growth from the currency's rise.

"We expect growth to remain relatively strong over the next couple of quarters, helped by strong external demand and loose monetary and fiscal policy", said Gareth Leather, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd in London.

Thailand's economic growth has lagged behind its regional peers since 2014, when the army seized power to end months of political turmoil.

The economy expanded 1.3 per cent in the June quarter from the prior period, on a seasonally adjusted basis, topping the 1.0 per cent growth forecast by economists in a Reuters poll. The military government has ramped up spending in a bid to boost domestic activity but large infrastructure projects have been slow taking off.

Deputy Director General of the International Trade Promotion Department under the Commerce Ministry Vannaporn Ketudat said that the new export market plan will help the country achieve its goal of 5 percent export growth this year.

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The baht is Asia's best performing currency this year, having appreciated 7.8 percent against the dollar.

The economy is now expected to grow between 3.5%-4% in 2017, up from the previous forecast of 3.3%-3.8%, the board said. Last year's growth was 3.2 percent. Exports, worth about two-thirds of the economy, have started recovering in 2017 after years of weakness.

The economy grew 1.3 percent from the first quarter, when it climbed by a similar rate. Private investment rose 3.2% from a year ago.

In order for the recovery to sustain, domestic demand should pick up, noted ANZ in a research report. "Thus, we continue to expect the Bank of Thailand to keep its policy rate unchanged through 2017".

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