By THE NATION
In the quarterly “Monetary Policy Report” released yesterday, the BOT said improved growth in the tourism sector next year would also be a factor to boost the economy.
The report also highlighted another downward revision in the economic-growth forecasts for 2015 and 2016 by the BOT.
The central bank has lowered this year’s growth forecast to 2.7 per cent from 3 per cent. This is the third downward revision, following the first two in March and June. The BOT early this year was predicting that gross domestic product would grow by 4 per cent. The 2016 forecast was also cut to 3.7 per cent from 4.1 per cent in the latest report.
The central bank cited several downside risks including a sharper slowdown in the Chinese and other Asian economies; a decline in the number of tourists in the aftermath of the bombings in Bangkok; and slow public investment processes.
Mathee Supapongse, assistant governor of the BOT, said the economy still confronted risks from economic slowdowns in China and elsewhere in Asia that could put further pressure on the Thai export sector.
The central bank revised its 2015 projection for exports to a contraction of 5 per cent, compared with the earlier estimate of 1.5-per-cent shrinkage. Its 2016 projection for export growth was cut to 1.2 per cent from 2.5 per cent.
The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) last month slashed its estimate for this year’s exports to a contraction of 3.50 per cent, compared with the previous forecast of 0.2-per-cent growth.
In the first seven months of this year, exports shrank by 4.66 per cent year on year.
Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, secretary-general of the NESDB, said in a special lecture on counting down to infrastructure investment that despite the export shrinkage, border trade had continued to expand by around 10-15 per cent this year.
The BOT has not yet included the government’s stimulus measures in its revision of its economic figures. If included, they would boost the GDP growth estimates by more by 0.1 per cent.