Thai Ministry of Finance Slashes GDP Outlook on Return of COVID-19

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BANGKOK: Thailand’s Ministry of Finance on Thursday (April 29) cut its economic growth forecast for 2021 for the second time this year to 2.3%, from 2.8% growth, after a third wave of coronavirus infections hit the tourism dependent country this month.

The latest COVID-19 outbreak in hailand saw half of its global cases reported this month alone and came as the Southeast Asian country prepared to reopen more widely to foreign tourists, as the vaccinations are increasing around the world.

The ministry has reduced its forecast for the number of foreign tourists to just 2 million this year, from the 5 million it predicted three months ago, senior ministry official Kulaya Tantitemit said in a briefing.

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This compares to nearly 40 million in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

The expected decrease in tourists “will have a huge impact” as it will reduce tourism money to just over 100 billion baht (US $ 3.2 billion) from the 260 billion baht previously projected, he said. she declared.

Tourism typically accounts for 12% of gross domestic product (GDP) and foreign visitors fell to 6.7 million last year. The nearly 40 million tourists in 2019 spent 1.91 trillion baht (US $ 61.14 billion).

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Kulaya said vaccinations at home and abroad could provide some support.

“The distribution of vaccines is very important because it will be positive for economic activity,” she said.

“We expect the economy to grow later in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter,” Kulaya added.
However, the ministry raised its forecast for exports for 2021, a key driver of growth, to an 11% increase from the 6.2% increase seen in January as the global economy shrank. improving, she said.

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The ministry included more than 100 billion baht ($ 3.2 billion) of additional stimulus in its new GDP forecast, she said, adding that the new measures are expected to be finalized next month.

The government said it had around 380 billion baht for relief measures.

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