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Brunei
Monday, September 26, 2022
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Monday, September 26, 2022
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    Thai economy sees stunted growth despite tourists’ return

    BANGKOK (AFP) – Thailand’s economy grew 2.5 per cent in the second quarter as returning foreign tourists failed to offset high inflation and concerns over regional tensions, the country’s main economic agency said yesterday.

    Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy was hit hard during the pandemic, though visitor numbers are slowly improving with the relaxation of travel rules since May.

    But the Ukraine war could put any economic recovery at risk, Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) warned.

    “The relaxing of our Covid controls and the recovery of tourism are factors that support the growth,” NESDC Secretary General Danucha Pichayanan said.

    The agency said that gross domestic product rose 2.5 per cent in April-June compared to the same period a year ago – well below the anticipated growth of three per cent.

    Tourists ride boats along a river in Thailand

    The NESDC also revised the expected full-year growth rate from 2.5-3.5 per cent to 2.7-3.2 per cent.

    Economist Charl Kengchon, from the Kasikorn Research Centre, characterised the results as a “mixed bag”, with the tourism boost failing to lift growth.

    “I think that is because inflation hit a 14-year high in June, so it is a drag on spending both (in the) household sector and business,” he said.

    Inflation in the month of June hit 7.7 per cent and was at 6.5 per cent for the quarter, according to the NESDC.

    The impact of the Russia-Ukraine war was also a worry, Charl said, affecting supply chains.

    “We expect Thailand exports to cool in tandem with the global economic growth next year, so we have to rely so much on tourism,” he said.

    Thailand welcomed roughly 40 million people annually pre-pandemic, and has set ambitious targets on arrivals for the coming year in the hope of coaxing life back into the damaged tourist sector.

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