Thailand’s economic growth labelled underwhelming by government

The economic expansion of Thailand in the previous year and the anticipated growth in the current year have been labelled as underwhelming by the government, referencing a report from the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO). The assertion was made by Chai Wacharonke, the government spokesperson, through a Line chat group created for communication with reporters from the Government House.

The FPO report, disclosed by Chai, indicated a meagre economic expansion of 1.8% in the previous year, with a projected growth of 2.8% for the current year. The Pheu Thai Party-led government, however, remains optimistic, with a pledge to stimulate the economy to achieve a targeted growth of 5% within the span of their four-year term.

Despite recognizing the low growth figures, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who also holds the Finance Minister role, initially cautioned that these figures were not yet official. The Finance Ministry, however, has since validated the 1.8% growth for the previous year.

While PM Srettha chose not to engage in the debate on whether the economy is in crisis, he did assert that it’s in a poor state. He further added that the recent remarks by the Bank of Thailand governor, stating that the economy was not in crisis, were subjective.

The 61 year old Thai prime minister also denied allegations of having prior access to the FPO’s report, maintaining that he wouldn’t request an early review to avoid accusations of interference. Following the leak of the report on Tuesday, January 23, Chai promptly withdrew the digital copy of the report, which he had previously forwarded to the Line group. This report, bearing the FPO’s confidential stamp, was deemed a tentative copy by Chai and declared unfit for reference until its official release.

The government, in collaboration with the FPO, is reportedly working on formulating economic stimulus programmes, inclusive of tax measures. The controversial FPO report was officially unveiled on Wednesday, confirming the previously leaked growth figures.

The report, disclosed by FPO director-general Pornchai Thiraveja, also the spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, projected a growth of 2.8% for this year. He suggested this would primarily be driven by a potential 4.2% increase in exports and a possible tourism revenue of around 1.48 trillion baht.

Additionally, a 4% increase in imports, a 1% expansion in the inflation rate and a surplus of US$10 billion in the current account balance are anticipated, reported Bangkok Post.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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