Economy can withstand global risks, Finance Minister says

The World Bank expects Thailand’s GDP to grow by 3.4% in 2022 and 3.6% in 2023

Tourists take photos at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, commonly known as Wat Pho, in Bangkok on Monday.  (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Tourists take photos at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, commonly known as Wat Pho, in Bangkok on Monday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Thailand’s economy is still on the recovery path and should grow 3.4% in 2022 and 3.8% next year, helped by a recovery in the vital tourism sector, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Wednesday.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy is weathering global uncertainties while average inflation is expected to hover at 6% this year, Mr Arkhom told a World Bank event.

– World Bank sees higher growth for 2022, lowers outlook for 2023 –

The World Bank said on Wednesday that Thailand’s economy is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels this year, but the pace of growth next year will be slower than expected due to global obstacles, the World Bank said on Wednesday.

The bank expects the country to grow 3.4% in 2022 and 3.6% in 2023, compared to September forecasts of 3.1% and 4.1%, respectively.

The reduced growth outlook for 2023 reflects a faster-than-expected fall in global demand, while a recovery in the tourism sector and private consumption would remain the key drivers of growth, the bank said in a statement.

Thailand recorded 10 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2022 last week and the government expects the number to double next year. The country saw just 428,000 foreign tourists last year, compared with nearly 40 million before the coronavirus pandemic in 2019.

However, the country’s exports of goods are expected to contract by 2.1% in 2023, after an estimated 8.1% increase in 2022, reflecting weaker demand from key trading partners, the World Bank said.

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While the Thai economy has shown resilience to recent global shocks, the poverty rate is expected to rise from 6.3% in 2021 to 6.6% in 2022 as Covid-19 relief measures are phased out amid heightened inflation, said the bank.

“As Thailand aspires to resume its path to post-pandemic high-income country status, there will be a need to create adequate fiscal space to meet additional spending needs and provide a fiscal buffer for future shocks,” he said Fabrizio Zarcone, World Bank Country Manager for Thailand.

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