Thailand’s economy contracted less than expected in the third quarter, with the relatively strong exports offsetting the devastating effects of the coronavirus delta variant.
Gross domestic product in the quarter shrunk 0.3 percent, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council said Monday. It expects the economy to grow by 1.2 percent for the entire 2021 year, down from earlier projections, but better than a contraction.
NESDC Secretary-General Danucha Pichayanan revealed that Thailand’s gross domestic product in the third quarter contracted due to the Covid-19 situation from July through September, he height of the delta variant wave.
Private-sector spending and investment declined during the period, although public sector investments expanded by 2.5 percent.
Export value, meanwhile, expanded by 15.7 percent over the pandemic-depressed 2020 numbers whereas the export amount rose by 12.2 percent, effectively providing a cushion for the economy in the third quarter.
The NESDC also viewed the reopening of Thailand to international tourists as economically beneficial for the remainder of the year.
The secretary-general said that for 2022, GDP is expected to expand by 3.5-4.5 percent due to the recovery of domestic demand and the manufacturing sector, the recovery of the tourism sector, the expansion of exports, and the disbursal of public sector budgets. However, he made a note of the uncertainties around the situation of Covid-19.
The NESDC chief said his agency was suggesting that the government keep outbreaks limited, accelerate vaccinations, assist businesses and individuals that have been affected, and promote exports.
The agency also proposed finding new markets by making use of existing international agreements, promoting private sector investment, maintaining economic expansion via public sector spending and investment, and making further preparations to accommodate foreign tourists.