Thailand: Year in Review 2017
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Wed, 3 Jan. 2018
Oxford Business Group
Rising overseas demand for goods and services pushed Thailand’s GDP towards five-year highs in 2017, with business-friendly fiscal policies and planned spending on infrastructure expected to support further expansion in 2018.
The Thai economy improved over the course of 2017, recording year-on-year (y-o-y) growth of 3.3% in the first quarter, 3.8% in the second quarter and 4.3% between July and September, the largest quarterly jump since 2013, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).
The board cited a rise in exports, consumption and private investment, coupled with improved returns from agriculture and manufacturing, as key contributors to growth.
The positive results prompted the NESDB to narrow its forecast for full-year growth to 3.9%, at the upper end of the 3.5-4% predicted by the NESDB, and slightly above the 3.8% projected by the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the IMF. The board had earlier given a broader forecast for GDP expansion of between 3.6% and 4.6%.
Strong performance from exports
Significantly higher levels of international sales underpinned growth as 2017 went on, with the value of exports in US dollar terms rising by 6.8% y-o-y in the first quarter, before expanding by 7.9% and 12.5% in the second and third quarter, respectively.
Of this, agricultural exports jumped by 20.5% between January and March, 19.2% in the second quarter and 28.4% during the July-September period – with the latter period seeing the highest growth recorded in two years. Manufacturing products also performed well, expanding by 5.9%, 12.5% and 9.6%, respectively, on the back of more favourable global economic conditions.
Full-year export growth is slated to reach 8.6% in 2017.
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