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BoT sees bright economic prospects

Chinese tourists pay respects to the Erawan shrine at Bangkok's Ratchaprasong intersection. Visa incentives boost their arrivals which play an important role in the Thai economic recovery, the Bank of Thailand said. (Photo by Weerawong Wongpreedee)

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) reported a solid economic recovery in December, spurred by public expenditures and growth in exports and tourism, and expected the momentum to continue.

Public spending, which expanded through both current and capital spending, remained an important economic growth driver.

Greater current spending was particularly due to operational expenses on prevention and relief of natural disasters. Capital spending grew on the back of well-disbursed transport and irrigation projects, partly thanks to measures to accelerate small-scale investment.

The value of merchandise exports displayed a more robust sign of recovery with an expansion of 5.6% from the same period last year. It resulted from improvement in external demand for several products including integrated circuits, vehicle parts, equipment supporting the Internet of Things, electrical appliances, petroleum-related and petrochemical products, and rubber for China's tire production and exports to the US.

The tourism sector improved with a rebound in the number of foreign tourists, registering 1.1% annual growth. After seasonal adjustment, the number increased by 9% from the previous month. The previously declining number of Chinese tourists picked up thanks to measures on concession and exemption of visa fee starting in December, the BoT said.

Pornpen Sodsrichai, BoT's director for macroeconomic and monetary policies, said economic signals were positive in December and the fourth quarter of last year and should drive further economic recovery this year.

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