Thailand’s Q4 economy slows as exports decline

Thai economy grew slower than expected in Q4 2022

Thailand’s Q4 economy grew by 1.4% in the final quarter of 2022 with hopes high for a tourism-led recovery.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy grew slower than expected in the fourth quarter of 2022 as exports and manufacturing declined. The much-anticipated rebound in tourism will continue to boost the recovery this year as global demand for manufactured goods declines.

On a quarterly basis, GDP contracted by a seasonally-adjusted 1.5% in Q4, ending starry-eyed expectations of a 0.5% rise, data from the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) showed on Friday.

Service driven exports

Thai exports dropped 4.4% in October - Thai News
Export items with decreased value included machinery, chemicals and vehicle parts.

On the expenditure side, Thailand’s Q4 economy was mainly driven by the export of services, expansion of private consumption, and public investment. Nonetheless, the export of goods and government expenditure contracted.

In foreign trade, export value was US$66 billion (2.2 trillion baht), a 7.5% contraction compared to a 6.7% growth in the previous quarter. Export volume dropped by 10.3%.

In 2022, the tourism-dependent side of Thailand’s Q4 economy expanded by 2.6%, after growing by 1.5% in the previous year, which was among the slowest growth in Southeast Asia.

Despite the slower fourth quarter, Al Jazeera expects the economic recovery to gain some traction, with China’s earlier-than-expected reopening proving a further boost to the tourism sector, helping offset some of the impacts of weakening exports.

Tourism targets

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On Friday, the NESDC predicted the economy would grow 2.7% to 3.7% this year, down from a previous forecast of 3% to 4%.

With the return of China’s visitors, the agency now expects Thailand to receive 28 million foreign tourist arrivals this year, up from the 23.5 million projected earlier.

Thailand beat its tourism target in 2022 with 11 million foreign visitors. It welcomed a record of nearly 40 million visitors in pre-pandemic 2019 who spent 1.9 trillion baht (US$55 billion).

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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