Economy on road to recovery

The economic recovery began to pick up speed in May, while a V-shaped recovery will gain momentum starting in the third quarter, says the Bank of Thailand.

Don Nakornthab, director for economic policy, said despite economic activities picking up in May on the back of recovering manufacturing output and private consumption, figures for that month did not reflect recent domestic political changes.

"Effects deriving from political changes will appear as tangible figures in June," he said.

Economic activities in May picked up slightly from the previous month as manufacturing production and private sector spending started to show signs of recovery, said the central bank.

The private consumption index declined by 0.3% year-on-year in May after a 0.8% contraction in April, but the PCI registered 0.5% growth on a monthly basis after 0.1% growth in April.

The private investment index (PII) contracted by 2.9% year-on-year in May after April’s 4.8% decline. On a month-on-month basis, the PII recorded 0.6% growth after a 0.2% contraction in April.

The manufacturing production index registered a 4.1% year-on-year fall last month, the same figure as in April, but the MPI excluding vehicles grew by 3% in May after a 0.6% decline a month earlier.

The central bank’s average economic growth on a quarterly basis is estimated at 1% to 1.1%, while growth for the April-June period is expected to come in at more than 1%, said Mr Don.

The central bank recently projected the economy would contract by 0.5% on an annual basis in the first half but forecasts growth will accelerate to 3.4% in the second half due to a fully functioning fiscal policy, normalised economic management and a rebound in private sector confidence.

The V-shaped recovery is expected to begin in the third quarter, and the momentum could continue throughout the year, said Mr Don.

The central bank recently revised down its growth forecast this year to 1.5% from 2.7% projected in March after the protracted political unrest contributed to a first-quarter contraction of 0.6% year-on-year and 2.1% quarter-on-quarter.

It predicts next year’s economic growth at a bullish 5.5%, up from an earlier projection of 4.8%, thanks to a return to normal economic conditions, with domestic demand, tourism and exports driving growth.

Some US$20 billion in monthly merchandise exports must be made to achieve the central bank’s latest 3% export growth forecast this year, Mr Don added.

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