Tue, May 22, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Thailand’s economy rebounds strongly after flooding crisis


Thailand’s economy posted double-digit growth in the first quarter of this year, rebounding sharply from last year’s devastating floods, official data showed yesterday.

GDP grew 11 percent from January to March from the previous quarter, when the economy contracted 10.8 percent, according to the Thai National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).

GDP rose 0.3 percent compared with the same period last year.

The months-long floods last year killed hundreds of people and caused widespread damage to Thailand’s industrial heartland north of Bangkok.

solid growth

Investment by companies to get their plants back up and running is now helping to revive the economy, while the agricultural sector posted solid growth and consumer demand also rebounded in the first quarter, the figures showed.

The NESDB forecast economic growth of 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent for the whole of this year.

The manufacturing sector has not yet returned to full strength, said Thanawat Polwichai, director of the Center for Economic and Business Forecasting at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

“Industry will recover further in the second quarter,” he added.

However, Thailand’s economy is heavily reliant on exports so the eurozone debt crisis and slowing Chinese growth are expected to take a toll.

global risks

“The major risk for our recovery is the sluggish global economy, which could cause our exports to decline, while the manufacturing sector could face higher costs from increased wages and material prices,” Thanawat said.

On May 11 the Bank of Thailand upgraded its forecast for the kingdom’s economic growth this year to 6 percent, from a previous projection of 5.7 percent.

Earlier this month the central bank held its key interest rate steady at 3 percent, where it has been since January, to spur the economic recovery.

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