Thailand’s Finance Ministry Lowers 2015 Growth Estimate to 3.7%

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The FINANCIAL — Thailand’s finance ministry on April 29 lowered its economic growth forecast for a second time this year, but expressed optimism that a strong tourism sector and fiscal stimulus measures will help support recovery, according to Nasdaq.

Krisada Chinavicharana, director-general of the finance ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office, said the new GDP estimate for 2015 is 3.7%, which is slightly lower than the 3.9% growth projected in January.

The ministry had in January lowered growth projection to 3.9% from 4.0% earlier. Thailand’s economy grew 0.7% in 2014.

Mr. Krisada said the tourism sector will play an important role to achieve the expected growth this year, citing reports of continued improvement in tourism confidence in Thailand, almost a year after a military coup toppled an elected government following months of political unrest and violent street protests.

The official said that this year’s growth will still see a marked expansion on the back of higher public investment and consumption, which are expected to rise 9.5% and 4.3% respectively, on-year.

Nevertheless, external factors continue to present uncertainties to Thailand’s economic growth momentum, particularly exports which account for nearly two-third of the country’s gross domestic product.

Exports contracted 4.69% on-year in the first quarter of 2015, after falling 0.41% in 2014. The commerce ministry accordingly cut this year’s export growth estimate to 1.2% from 4.0% earlier.

“In assessing Thailand’s economic (growth), we will still have to closely monitor certain risk factors, including weak global economic recovery, volatile capital movements among different markets, foreign exchange rates as well as falling oil and farm product prices,” Mr. Krisada said.

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