UTCC: Shutdown will trim GDP growth

If the Bangkok shutdown by the anti-government protesters is prolonged it will trim gross domestic product growth by 0.1-0.2%, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) said on Thursday.

Thanavath Phonvichai, the university’s director of the Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting, said  the shutdown could cost the country  20 to 40 billion baht in overall economic damage.

He said the shutdown of the inner city by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) would affect three main sectors – domestic consumption, investment and tourism.

The shutdown would erode the confidence of people and the business sector, and could bring down domestic consumption by  200-500 million baht a day, or 10 to 20 billion baht per month, he said.

The shutdown would also drive tourists away from Bangkok, at an estimated revenue loss of  200-500 million baht a day, or about 10-20 billion baht a month,  he added.

However it would have only a minimal direct impact on the export sector, as the PDRC had given assurances it would not laying seige to airports, ports or other transportation networks.

Mr Thanavath said the UTTC forecasting centre earlier projected GDP growth for 2014 at a range of 4 to 5 %, on the condition there would be a political stability, the number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand would reach 28 million at a minimum, exports expand by 5-7% and the government’s investment in its infrastructure development megaprojects and the water resource and flood management projects would go smoothly as planned.

Because of the current political situation it was possible economic expansion would be only 3% to 4% this year, he said.

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