Thailand’s economy contracted at a slower pace in the fourth quarter underpinned by household and government spending, the National Economic and Social Development Council said Monday.
Nonetheless, the coronavirus pandemic pushed the economy into its worst recession since the Asian Financial Crisis in 1998.
Gross domestic product fell 4.2 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, slower than the 6.4 percent decline in the previous quarter and the economists’ forecast of -5.4 percent.
On a quarterly basis, GDP grew 1.3 percent but weaker than the 6.2 percent growth logged in the third quarter. Economists had forecast an expansion of 0.8 percent.
In 2020, the economy contracted 6.1 percent, reversing an expansion of 2.3 percent in 2019. This was the biggest fall since 1998, when GDP fell 7.6 percent.
The NESDC forecast the economy to grow 2.5-3.5 percent this year underpinned by global recovery, fiscal stimulus and the rebound in domestic private demand.
The expenditure-side breakdown showed that private consumption expenditures climbed 0.9 percent, reversing a 0.6 percent fall in the third quarter.
At the same time, government expenditure advanced 1.9 percent albeit slower than the 2.5 percent increase seen in the prior quarter.
Total investment decreased by 2.5 percent, continued from a reduction of 2.6 percent in the previous quarter.
Exports decreased 21.4 percent and imports were down 7 percent in the fourth quarter.
After falling 0.4 percent in 2019, headline inflation is seen in the range of 1-2 percent.
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