World Bank maintains Thailand's 2023 growth outlook at 3.6%

By Reuters   March 30, 2023 | 11:05 pm PT
World Bank maintains Thailand's 2023 growth outlook at 3.6%
Tourists shop for street foods ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations in Bangkok's Chinatown, Thailand, January 19, 2023. Photo by Reuters
Thailand's economy is expected to grow by 3.6% this year, up from 2.6% last year, supported by stronger private consumption, a recovery in the tourism sector and strong pent-up demand following China's reopening, the World Bank said on Friday.

The 2023 outlook was unchanged from a forecast in December, and compared with 4.1% growth predicted in September.

The World Bank projects economic growth of 3.7% in 2024.

Foreign tourist arrivals to Thailand are expected to rise to 27 million this year and "surpass the pre-pandemic level by 2024", the World Bank said in a report.

The Southeast Asian country received 11.15 million foreign tourists last year, compared with nearly 40 million in pre-pandemic 2019.

While investment would continue to expand, goods exports in dollar terms were expected to contract by 1.8% this year due to the global slowdown, the World Bank said.

"Thailand's economic recovery continued to lag" that of Southeast Asian countries as falling exports have clouded the outlook, with domestic price pressures and elevated household debt posing downside risks, the bank said.

"Political uncertainty remains regarding the timeline of general elections and government formation," it said.

Thailand's election on May 14 will be a battle between parties aligned with the military-backed establishment, led by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, 69, and the billionaire Shinawatra family-backed Pheu Thai party, this time led by Paetongtarn, the 36-year-old daughter and niece of two ex-premiers.

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