Growth slows slightly as experts forecast export rebound

growth1Economic growth slowed slightly to 3.2 percent during the third quarter of 2016 according to statistics released by the government last week, but the National Economic and Social Development Board predicted a rebound in exports and household spending next year to keep growth steady and rising.

Furthermore, the government is mulling a new raft of stimulus measures with the goal of accelerating growth to 4 percent next year, according to Somchai Sujjapongse, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance.

“The current growth of 3.2 percent for all of 2016 is not bad compared with 2.8 percent in 2015 and 0.8 percent in 2014,” Somchai said. “However, even though we are quite happy with the growth this year the Finance Minister [Apisak Tantivorawong] believes we have the potential to do better than this. He wants to see the economy grow at its full potential, which should be at least 4 percent or even 4.5 percent.”

The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), the think tank that outlines broad economic and development strategy for the country, forecast that growth could reach 4 percent in 2017 on an expected improvement in exports, increases in agricultural production and a continued strong performance by the tourism sector.

“Total export value will grow by 2.4 percent, household spending will rise by 2.7 percent, and total investment will climb 5 percent year on year,” said Porametee Vimolsiri, secretary-general of the NESDB.

Improved exports would stimulate investment from the private sector, while higher agricultural production would encourage increased consumer spending. Another factor would be increased investment by the government in areas such as infrastructure.

Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) officials are also bullish on 2017, voicing their belief that the exchange will rise next year despite highly volatile markets around the globe and political uncertainties after US election.

SET chairman Chaiwat Wibulswasdi said the SET is committed to maintaining its position as the capital market leader in the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“Next year we will expand connectivity with CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) bourses and further develop the regional ecosystem to accommodate startups,” Chaiwat said.

To achieve its targets, the SET will adopt three strategies to drive equity growth, including a plan to support the government’s key cluster industries in raising funds through the exchange. It will also allow global stocks to list on the SET.