Thai bank trims growth forecast for 2015, 2016

Bangkok, Sep 30 (IANS) The Bank of Thailand (BOT) has revised down its growth projections for 2015 and 2016 to 2.7 and 3.7 percent, respectively, the bank said on Wednesday.

From the second quarter to July 2015, the Thai economy gradually recovered with softer-than-expected growth momentum as risks were skewed towards the downside, Xinhua cited a report released by the bank.

The ongoing sluggish trend in the export of goods is further weighed down by Asian economic slowdown, which not only affects export volumes, but also contributes to a decline in the prices of commodity and electronic products, the report said.

Furthermore, the recovery of the export sector will continue to be impeded by “a shift in the global trade structure and loss of competitiveness of some products”, though the depreciation of the baht should partly help increase liquidity of businesses, the statement said.

The bank also said farm income was likely to decline further and sluggish household income prospect was likely to hamper consumer confidence and consumption, with further repercussions on private investment.

On the other hand, the bank added, the economy should receive some support from “continued improvement in tourism, accelerated disbursement of public investment expenditure, and recent fiscal stimulus measures”.

Meanwhile, the BOT also cut headline inflation projections for 2015 and 2016 to 0.9 and 1.2 percent, respectively.

The projection of core inflation in 2015 remained close to the previous assessment at 1.0 percent while that of 2016 was slightly below the previous assessment at 0.8 percent, according to the report.

Earlier this month, the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to keep the policy rate unchanged at 1.50 percent per annum.

The decision was made considering that overall monetary conditions, including the exchange rate, continued to remain conducive to the ongoing economic recovery, the bank said.

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