The Bank of Thailand has said the Thai economy improved in February following a moderate slow down the previous month, owing to an easing of coronavirus curbs and a resumption of a quarantine waiver for foreign tourists.
According to Chayawadee Chai-Anant, a senior BOT director, the Russia-Ukraine crisis is likely to push up inflation and cause global financial volatility, but Thailand’s external stability remains good.
In January, about 18% of the nearly 134,000 tourists in Thailand were Russian. Official data showed Russians spent 102 billion baht (US$3.14 billion) in the Kingdom in the year before the pandemic.
Chayawadee Chai-Anant also added that the impact of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases has been within estimates, while the momentum of a stronger-than-expected fourth quarter could help the economy grow more than the 3.4% earlier forecast for this year.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy expanded 1.6% last year, returning to growth in the final quarter of the year, following a 6.2% contraction in 2020.
The Thai economy will continue to recover from last year but is yet to reach its pre-Covid level. In 2022, economic growth is expected to be 3.0-3.5%, against 0.8% last year and -6.1% in 2020 and would fully recover in 2024.Thailand resumed its quarantine waiver this month after a brief suspension imposed amid uncertainty about the severity of the Omicron variant, which slowed economic activity in January.
In January, private consumption dropped 0.4% from the previous month and private investment fell 0.7%.
Exports, a key driver of growth, rose at a much slower pace of 7.9% in January from a year earlier, with imports up 18.4% year-on-year, giving a trade surplus of $0.6 billion.
Thailand recorded a current account deficit of $2.2 billion in January after a deficit of $1.4 billion in December.
Is expected the public debt to reach 62% of gross domestic product at the end of the current fiscal year ending September, up from 59% at the end of December.