BENGALURU – Thailand’s economy likely saw modest growth in the first quarter, on the back of robust exports and an easing of COVID-19 restrictions and despite low tourist arrivals and high inflation dampening spending consumption, according to a Reuters poll.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy grew 2.1% in the January-March period from the same period a year earlier, according to a May 6-13 poll of 15 economists. early. It posted an annual growth of 1.9% in the previous quarter.
“We expect Thai GDP to recover moderately in 1Q22, given a rebound in economic activities following the easing of COVID restrictions,” said Lalita Thienprasiddhi, senior researcher at Kasikorn Research Center.
“Recovering tourism and strong exports will be the main drivers of Thailand’s economy in 1Q22,” she said.
According to a smaller sample of forecasts, gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter would have been 0.9% higher than the previous quarter. This would represent half of the quarterly growth of 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Estimates for the latest quarterly change ranged from a contraction of 0.8% to growth of 1.7%, highlighting the uncertainties surrounding the economy’s recovery from the pandemic.
The data is due to be released at 01:30 GMT on May 17.
“A deceleration in GDP growth is expected due to the impacts of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, declining consumer confidence with runaway inflation and lower non-energy household spending,” Phacharaphot Nuntramas said. , chief economist at the Krung Thai Bank.
Inflation has remained above the Bank of Thailand’s 3% upper limit so far this year and is expected to remain there until the end of the year, according to a separate Reuters poll.
The tourism-dependent economy is on track to receive just 6.1 million foreign visitors this year, below an earlier projection of 7 million due to travel restrictions imposed by China and reduced Russian visits in because of the war in Ukraine.
In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, Thailand received almost 40 million visitors.
GDP for 2022 as a whole is expected to be 3.5% higher than a year earlier, according to another Reuters poll, in line with recently revised government and IMF projections.
(Reporting by Arsh Tushar Mogre; Polling by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by Bradley Perrett)