Thailand’s economic growth beats forecasts as exports rise

Pedestrians walk outside the CentralWorld shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 21, 2017. (Bloomberg/Taylor Weidman)

Thailand’s economy grew faster than economists estimated last quarter, boosted by strong exports and rising tourist arrivals.

Highlights of the GDP report Gross domestic product rose 4.3 percent from a year ago after expanding a revised 3.8 percent in the previous three months, the National Economic and Social Development Board said the median estimate of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 3.9 percent GDP rose a seasonally adjusted 1 percent in the third quarter compared with the previous three months, higher than the 0.7 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Big Picture

After years of lagging its neighbors, Thailand is catching up as a global trade recovery boosts exports from the Southeast Asian nation. The end of a yearlong mourning period for King Bhumibol Adulyadej strengthens the outlook for consumption and both the finance ministry and the central bank predict growth of 3.8 percent in 2017, which would be the fastest pace in five years.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha has adopted measures to boost growth, including a 46 billion dollar infrastructure spending plan, and tax breaks for year-end shopping. The central bank has held its benchmark rate near a record low since 2015.

Southeast Asian nations are enjoying a growth resurgence with expansion in Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia quickening. Thailand, which under military rule since 2014 is on course for elections next year, injecting uncertainty into the outlook. While some analysts expect a growth boost, others are concerned political divisions could once again flare up. – Bloomberg

Recommended stories: