Somkid upbeat on GDP stats

With the state planning unit scheduled to release Thailand’s second-quarter GDP growth result today, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak says the figure is likely to approach the 4.8% reading of the first quarter.

Almost all economic growth drivers are positive, including state and private investment, exports and tourism, Mr Somkid said, adding that the statistics clearly show an upward trend in private investment because of investors’ improving confidence.

The government is committed during the remaining months of the year to continue efforts to boost private investment, especially from China, Japan and South Korea.

Mr Somkid also expects improvement in household consumption, especially for low-income earners and the farm sector, thanks to the government’s massive spending on the two sectors.

The state has implemented numerous short-term measures to help low-income earners, including welfare smartcards, debt repayment extensions and aid for farmers.

Those measures are just temporary, and the farm restructuring in the medium term and long term should be accelerated, Mr Somkid said, while the development of community businesses and community tourism should be promoted more.

The existing 777 agricultural cooperatives should spearhead the farm restructuring, he said earlier, while the government will support technology development and marketing access.

The objective is for the Commerce Ministry to help the 777 cooperatives develop their own websites and e-commerce platform.

The government will also support smart farmers in developing their own businesses, Mr Somkid said, adding that the state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives is ready to provide financial support.

Mr Somkid said earlier this month that Thai economic growth was likely to have exceeded 4.5% in the first half of this year, much higher than 3.5% growth reported for the first half of 2017.

The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) reported on May 21 that the economy grew by 4.8% in the first quarter of 2018, the strongest rate in five years, driven by higher consumption and expansion of external demand and public investment.

The first quarter’s 4.8% year-on-year GDP growth far outpaced the 4% recorded in the previous quarter.

The NESDB said economic growth in the first quarter reached its highest levels in five years across nearly all sectors, including household consumption, exports, tourism, and public and private investment.

The robust first-quarter performance prompted the NESDB to raise its GDP growth forecast to 4.2-4.7% for the full year, up from 3.6-4.6% in February.

GDP grew by 3.9% in 2017, up from 3.3% in 2016.

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