Thailand experiences faster economic growth with reopening of tourism sector
Thailand’s economy is expected to grow by as much as 1.2% this year with the reopening of its key tourism sector, beating the finance ministry’s earlier forecast of 1%.
The nationwide reopening of the country to vaccinated visitors that began this month has boosted economic activity in the fourth quarter, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said, adding that next year’s growth could reach as high as 4.5. %, exceeding previous ministry forecasts by 4%.
Arkhom’s new growth estimates for 2021 and 2022 are in line with the latest forecasts from the National Council for Economic and Social Development. However, they far exceed the central bank’s forecast for growth of 0.7% this year and 3.9% in the following 12 months.
The Southeast Asian nation, popular among tourists for its Bangkok nightlife and resorts along the Andaman Sea coast, has seen a drop in Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations at as vaccination rates increase.
The central bank is also resisting pressure to raise interest rates due to increased government spending, fuel prices and inflation, the minister said, with the Bank of Thailand still maintaining an accommodative monetary policy. Fiscal and monetary policies will continue to be synchronized to support the economic recovery, he added.
The number of active cases fell to 87,271 on Sunday, the lowest since July 11, while the average daily infection rate fell to 6,600 cases this week from a peak of more than 20,000, according to data from the Ministry of Health. About 54% of the population received two doses of the vaccine.
Read more: Thailand raises debt-to-GDP ceiling to 70% to help rebuild economy
With a global economic recovery expected in 2022 and a stronger grip on the epidemic, Arkhom said government measures to support growth include measures to boost consumption, exports, private investment, public spending and business takeovers. Government spending to support the economy so far amounts to the equivalent of 14.6% of GDP.
The government aims to manage economic shocks by stimulating growth in all sectors, he said. It is also trying to avoid a double deficit in its budget and current accounts, and encourage Thais to travel abroad to keep the exchange rate at an appropriate level, the minister said.
Thailand plans to add more countries to its current list of 63 eligible territories for non-quarantine travel from December to boost the tourism-dependent economy. He also plans to speed up the reopening of bars and nightclubs after the epidemic eases.
This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing.
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