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Thai Q3 growth faster than expected

(BANGKOK) Thailand’s economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter, buoyed by exports and a recovery in private consumption almost a year after a military coup. South-east Asia’s second-biggest economy expanded 4.9 per cent in the three months ended Sept 30 from a year earlier, compared with a revised 4.3 per cent gain in the second quarter, the government said yesterday. The median estimate of 14 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was 4.4 per cent.

Thailand’s central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged at the last two meetings as local demand started to pick up after five consecutive cuts from January.

‘Thailand’s economy has been blessed by the unexpectedly strong growth in exports,’ Isara Ordeedolchest, an economist at KTB Securities Co in Bangkok, said before yesterday’s report. ‘Export growth will slow in 2008, but still rise at double-digit growth.’ Still, Thailand’s Q3 growth was the slowest among six Southeast Asian countries tracked by Bloomberg, with Singapore’s 8.9 per cent pace the fastest and Indonesia’s 6.5 per cent the second slowest.

The Thai economy will expand 4.3 per cent this year, based on the median of 11 of the economists’ predictions. That would be the lowest growth since 2001 and compares with the government’s 4.5 per cent forecast.

Ampon Kittiampon, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, the government’s economic advisory agency,said Thailand’s US$206 billion economy may expand by between 4 and 5 per cent next year. Economists in a Bloomberg survey expect growth of 4.8 per cent in 2008.

 

Source: Bloomberg (Business Times 4 Dec 07)

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