Blaming external factors, the Office of Fiscal Policy at the Finance Ministry has revised downward the economic growth (GDP) forecast for 2019 to 2.8%.
Mr. Lawan Saengsanit, director of the office, said today that the economic downturn in Thailand's trading partners, such as China, the United States, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam, as a result of the ongoing trade war between the US and China, has impacted Thai exports this year, with exports expected to shrink by 2.5% against previous projection of -0.9%.
However, he noted that the growth projection for the second half of the year is expected to be 3.1%, compared to 2.6% for the first half, thanks to the Government's stimulus packages, introduced during the second half of the year, such as the Chim-Shop-Chai (Eat-Shop-Spend) scheme, a cost of living allowance for farmers whose crops are affected by drought, a price guarantee for cash crops and housing credits, among others.
As far as tourism is concerned, Mr. Lawan said the earlier forecast of 40 million tourists visiting Thailand this year is revised to 39.8 million, bringing in projected revenues of 1.98 trillion baht.
He predicted that, next year, tourist arrivals will increase by 5.3% to 41.5 million, generating revenue estimated at 2.09 trillion baht.
The economic growth projection for next year is forecast to be 3.3%, with exports expected to grow by 2.6%, against a 3.4% projected growth in imports. Private sector investment is set to increase by 6.6% with a 3.5% expansion in private sector consumption.
Mr. Lawan admitted, however, that the economic outlook for the third quarter of the year remains grim, with signs of a further slowdown in exports and imports, although tourism growth look healthy, with a 7.2% increase in tourist arrivals.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)