Thailand economy bolstered by domestic demand

Not bugged down: Local demand has helped fill voids left by a lagging export market, a positive sign such as this cricket farming initiative in Chiang Mai, Thailand. — Bloomberg

Bangkok: Thailand’s economy grew at a faster pace in the fourth quarter than the previous three months, as local demand helped to offset a slide in exports.

Gross domestic product rose 3.7% from a year ago, up from a revised 3.2% in the third quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said.

The median estimate of 23 economists in a Bloomberg survey was for expansion of 3.6%.

The economy expanded 4.1% for the whole of 2018, compared with a revised 4% for the previous year.

The NESDC expects growth of between 3.5% and 4.5% this year, driven by household spending, investment and tourism.

Private consumption and investment drove fourth-quarter growth as exports were hit by a slowdown in global demand, US-China trade tensions and a strong currency.

While local demand has remained resilient, Thailand is facing period of possible heightened political risks ahead of an election, which could adversely effect sentiments and domestic investment.

The Bank of Thailand, which kept its benchmark rate unchanged this month after the first hike in seven years in December, has said its “accommodative” monetary policy would remain appropriate in the period ahead.

GDP rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8% in the fourth quarter compared with the previous three months, which was higher than the 0.7% median estimate in a Bloom­berg survey. — The Nation / Asia News Network

[“source=thestar”]

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